Siips bows out, McClure and his burgers step in

As you might have already heard, Siips Wine & Champagne Bar closed on February 19 after four years on the Downtown Mall. Siips was known for its impressive wine offerings, music, and art events, and creative marketing– they featured celebrity guest bartenders and once held a happy hour for dogs (and their owners) called Yappy Hour to raise money for the SPCA.

Owner George Benford, and his wife, Pat, informed customers via email that they had sold their "beloved" restaurant to a local restauranteur with "big plans for the space." 

That would be Andy McClure and company, owner of such powerhouses as The Virginian, The Biltmore, No.3, and West Main. Although nothing is set in stone yet, a representative of McClure's restaurant group tells the Hook that the new place is tentatively called the Union Burger Bar, and will likely be "upscale, modern, have lots of TVs, hundreds of beers, and have lots of local products."

Of course, all that could change, as plans to open are at least a few months out.  As the restaurant group rep said, "It's very early in the process." Stay tuned.


Great space that was due for a remodel. The Mall is in need of a first class sports bar; I hope this is it.

Lots of TV's...oh boy that's exciting. Isn't 5 guys almost next door, speaking of burgers?

Amigo, no way to do "upscale" or "modern" without lots of TVs is there? That why people will pay more for a burger that isn't as good as the one right down the street. For the first couple of weeks at least.

To bad lot's of good feelings about Sips. They always treated me and my pup well.

Just what the mall needs - MORE BURGER JOINTS!!!! For real, though. I really hope it's a sports bar. Maybe by "modern" they mean that they won't have UVA crap all over the walls.

I don't think there is a huge demand for a sports bar on the Mall, but I guess we'll see. BW3 seems to be packed on a regular basis, but they've got a lot of parking right outside the front door. I have the impression that 5 guys isn't generally all that busy and that their bread-and-butter is lunchtime sales to area workers, but I could be entirely wrong about that.

Siips was nice, and I don't think the interior needed an overhaul that badly, but it was rather expensive - given downtown mall rents, it's hard to see how wine bars are viable.

It seems a little different than other stuff on the mall. Five guys is great, but it is a fast food joint--not a place you hang out. This looks like a bar--the details will tell the story--do they go upscale modern. Televisions are a must at just about any bar these days, whether upscale or not.

@downtownbrown -- "The Mall is in need of a first class sports bar;" I always thought Charlottesville was in need of a first class sports bar and wondered why there wasn't one. It isn't the bar, it 's the people.

Ok- what is a "first class sports bar"??...........OK- what is a "first class" bar?

Lots of TV's!!!!! Yeah that's what I'm talking about. TV makes me feel loved and connected. Now what we need is a good "checks cashed" business and table dance emporium on the Downtown Mall.

Isnt there a non-compete clause in this town? Boylan Heights got it started, and now this guy is trying to take their idea downtown? As a long time C-Ville resident, I dont support that kind of behavior, sorry. Be original, come up with something unique and different - its a small town, challenge yourself. Unless of course these people are paying Boylan franchise fee's.. but either way, doing another 'Burger Bar?' Really? We deserve better downtown.

i hope there will be a turkey burger and a tofu berger on the menu and one of the TVs will be dedicated to the news....we downtown people do not eat hamburgers and french fries and prefer wine to beer and are sorry to loose such a dignified place such as siips and p.s. is there is a panhandler with 20 feet of the door don't expect my business.