Amy and her husband, Billy O’Shea, have been thinking of opening an upscale cocktail wine bar in town for a while. The idea, however, hinged on finding the right location. So, when they saw a space on Donnelly Walk—an old factory building that’s downtown yet feels a bit off the beaten path—they decided to pull the trigger.
The idea for the wine and cocktail lounge came to Amy after realizing there were few upscale places in town to grab a drink after, say, a concert at the Fairfield Theatre Company. “Nothing really fit the bill on what we wanted,” says Amy. “So, we decided to build a place that we would like to go.” She wanted to honor the history of the building and so preserved the industrial aesthetic of the space. The floors have been ground to the original cement floors and finished so guests can see where the machinery was bolted down. The light fixtures have been salvaged, and lithographs of Bridgeport Brass from 1934 hang on the walls. In fact, the name J.B. Percival is an ode to the handbag maker that once occupied the space. “I get really excited because I can tell all these items’ stories,” says Amy. “It adds a lot to the place.”
In line with the vintage feel, the cocktail list is classic, with Old- Fashioned, Bee’s Knees, Manhattans, Vesper martinis, and the like. Amy’s favorite is the Sloe Gin Fizz—sweet, tart and totally refreshing. A favorite may be the wine flights. “It gets people out of their cabernet and pinot noir comfort zone,” says Amy, “and they taste a bunch of lines they haven’t tried before.”
J.B. Percival had hoped to be the place people would go to meet up with friends, from 4 p.m. until closing “whenever, depending on the night.” Closed during the lockdown, it offers curbside pickup and sells gift cards and cute totes. See more @jbpercivalco on Instagram.