When Craig Dugas first had the idea to open a new wine bar in Lake Charles, he wasn’t exactly sure where to put it. But he had some friends building a new shopping center on E. McNeese St. It seemed like a good fit, so earlier this summer, Dugas and his business partner JR Vasquez opened Delano Wine Bar, a place he believes to be unique in the area. “I think we have a totally different look,” he said. “We’re going for something more upscale.” The modern interior décor is lit with unique lighting that can change colors, depending on the occasion and time of year. Outside, the gated patio area has seating and scenery of its own, while serving as the bar’s smoking area.
Dugas offers clients a collection of over forty different wines. Though the wines are featured prominently as the bar’s attraction, Dugas also has an impressive list of signature cocktails, martinis, and margaritas made with his own twist, such as the Central Park Lemon Drop, made with Citrone vodka, triple sec, lemon and simple syrup, or the Walking Mule that has Johnny Walker Red, lime, simple syrup and ginger beer. Dugas is partial to the Cucumber Basil Martini, made of vodka, muddled cucumber, lime, and basil Dugas grows in his own garden.
On Champagne Saturdays, Delano offers a series of specialty champagne drinks like the Cotton Candy, a flute of rose champagne topped with cotton candy. Also on Saturdays, and special occasions, the bar features a piano player and singer for entertainment. Dugas would like to host one man bands to play on the patio during the fall, but for now, speakers allow those on the patio to hear the music, as well.
As for the name Delano, Dugas said that came from an exchange with friends. “It’s actually a president’s middle name, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.”
Delano Wine Bar, located at 1301 E. McNeese St., is open from 4:00-11:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 4:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
by Mitch Thomas