If you’ve driven northeast on Coburg Road lately and wondered what that modernist, yellow-and-burgundy-hued complex is bursting out of an otherwise drab landscape, well, that’s Crescent Village — Eugene’s very own urban village. A city within a city, or in this case, an 11-block hamlet out past the Costco, Crescent Village is a self-contained living, working, shopping and entertaining quasi-utopia. Stores, salons and plazas, offices, restaurants and townhouses all nestled up next to each other to create an upwardly mobile Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood.
When Eugene Wine Cellars owner Bruce Biehl teamed up with his schoolteacher sister, Bev, and opened up b2 Wine Bar in Crescent Village, they were hoping that neighborliness would translate into people at the bar. And so far it has. Andrew Deffenbacher, b2’s general manager, describes the bar as “the community’s Cheers” and says that much of b2’s clientele is the local after-work crowd and company party sets. He says, “They come here to be comfortable and to drink reasonably priced wine and eat good food.” And there’s no disputing that. With its lengthy couches, warm red-and-yellow tones and local art, b2 whispers comfort, as in sit back, relax and enjoy a $6 glass of house pinot noir or a $4 glass of Willamette Valley Chardonnay. The ever-expanding wine list favors local vineyards and has 30 glass pours for less than $10, most within the $5-$7 range. Bargains like these have fueled b2’s success thus far, as Deffenbacher says, “These days people don’t want a $15 glass of wine; they’d rather have three $5 glasses.” It’s simple economics — more bang for your buck. And with a European-inspired, locally organic menu that features reasonably priced wraps, paninis and a “to-die-for” lobster bisque, b2 makes certain that the locals won’t have an empty stomach or an empty wallet.
But you don’t have to be one of the Crescent Villagers to sidle up to the b2 bar. Deffenbacher says that the buzz is building beyond the local community as more and more people from the campus area and south Eugene are starting to trickle in. The more, the merrier, he says. “We just want people to come here and hang out — we’re not looking to turn tables.” b2 Wine Bar is located in Crescent Village at 2794 Shadow View Dr. 505-8909. — Jeremy Ohmes