Wine bar, boutique hotel add new experiences to emerging Edge District of St. Pete

A new Marriott Tribute Collection boutique hotel is coming, more residential is going up, and now St. Petersburg’s rapidly growing Edge District will be getting its first wine bar and bottle shop.  

CellarMasters Wine Bar & Bottle Shop will have both indoor and outdoor seating and is expected to be open around Thanksgiving of his year.

According to Owner Ryan Rugg and Business Partner Kory Lynn, CellarMasters will offer both a retail venture focused on selling wine from small-batch, independent vineyards -- no big brands, and a social venue offering wine and beer by the glass, along with appetizers and small plate options.

Located at 1005 1st Ave. N., the 2,190-square-foot wine bar and bottle shop is taking over a former ‘70s era office building with extensive renovations currently underway inside, says Rugg.

“We are really excited about the Edge District and what’s taking place there,” says Rugg. “It’s totally walkable, very funky and fun. And it’s artistic with lots of murals on buildings. It’s the perfect part of town for us. We are super stoked. There is no other business similar to what we will be bringing here.''

Rugg recently moved to St. Pete from Oakland, CA., and says there are many similarities between the two cities. “Both are young and hip and edgy,'' says Rugg.  

Rugg and Lynn are veterans in the wine industry. Rugg’s background includes working as CellarMaster/Winemaking Supervisor producing wine in the San Francisco Bay area, as well as working as a wine wholesaler and retailer. Lynn is a sommelier and has years of experience opening wine bars in markets around the country and in selecting wine for restaurants and retailers. 

“We’re both well-educated in wine and hope to bring that education to the customer,” says Rugg.

Bridgewater Commercial Real Estate realtors Dan Huntington and Dee Maret helped secure the property, which is one block west of the new Icon Central Luxury Apartments, a mixed-use development with 15-story luxury apartments with amenities such as an outdoor movie lawn, indoor Zen garden, and art exhibits. The complex incorporates the historic 1926 Union Trust Bank building at the corner of Central Avenue and 8th Street North.

Located between 1st Avenue North and 1st Avenue South, and 9th Street North and 16th Street North, the Edge District has been experiencing skyrocketing economic development as the success of St. Pete’s downtown spreads west.

“It’s not the ‘Edge’ it once was, the district is becoming more and more a central part of town,” says Maret.  

According to the Edge District’s Executive Director Barbara Voglewede, there’s been a $75 million investment in the district in the last year or so. In the spring the much-anticipated three-story St. Petersburg Police Station opened, giving the city a new police headquarters with several cool features -- a  solar photovoltaic roof with 1,450 solar panels on the parking garage and three public art sculptures by two local artists -- Mark Aeling of MGA Sculpture Studio, and Catherine Woods of C Glass Studios.

Also, earlier this year, the Edge District commissioned 10 public art sculptures by artist James Brenner to mark the perimeter boundary line of the district. Brenner’s sculptures are made of sculpted jade green glass and stainless steel with LED lighting.

“The Edge District is still affordable,” says Rugg. “If you look around at the businesses, restaurants, and bars located here, most are locally owned and they are all true to the culture of St. Pete.”

Read more articles by Janan Talafer.

Janan Talafer enjoys writing for a diverse group of clients, including print and online publications, nonprofit organizations and public relations agencies. One of the highlights of her writing career was flying with the 91st Air Refueling Squadron out of MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa FL for a feature about this elite military team. A journalism graduate of Bowling Green State University (OH), Janan’s early career was in health care marketing and public relations for hospitals in Connecticut and Tampa Bay. She is an avid gardener, loves East Coast swing dance and enjoys touring around St. Petersburg on the back of her husband’s scooter.