On a recent Saturday afternoon at Le Midi, the crowd was mostly tapping away on laptops over coffee, but at 5:30 p.m. the computers snapped shut, couples arrived for date night, and wine and prosciutto hit the tables. Welcome to l’heure de l’apéro, Le Midi’s reason for being.
“My favorite part of the night is when you first sit down to have a glass of wine and a little bite,” says Craig Perman (Perman Wine Selections), who opened Le Midi with sommelier Seth Wilson (Aba, Booth One) in September. “We’re taking inspiration from the experiences you have in Europe. You’re there with a few other tables, surrounded by the products, and the owners are there telling you about the wines.”
You’ll find Perman and Wilson doing just that. Their wine program focuses on European offerings, like those of Le Midi, the region in southern France that’s bounded by Italy and Spain (the bar’s name also nods to the French word for “midday” — its doors open at noon every day but Monday, when it’s closed). They emphasize small-production wines, too. “We research the farmer and make sure they are meticulously taking care of the grapes, vines, and facilities,” Wilson says.
You can drink onsite, or buy a bottle to take home or to a nearby BYOB like Wazwan. To do Le Midi right, you’ll need snacks to go with that wine or spritz, and the menu, conceived by Ashlee Aubin (Pompette) and executed by James Calvin, features cheeses, charcuterie, and bites like crostini with tuna belly, white asparagus, and olive tapenade. Perman and Wilson make sure you also have the option to end your night at Le Midi. “You can come have a glass of amaro or a tea from Rare Tea Cellar and a coffee from Sparrow,” Perman says. “That is really important for us, especially in a neighborhood filled with restaurants.” 2108 W. Division St., Wicker Park