After moving back to Detroit from NYC, Mikiah Westbrooks returns to her old stomping grounds in West Village to open Brix Wine and Charcuterie Boutique.
Inspired by her love and appreciation of wine and the conversation it facilitates, Mikiah hopes Brix will be the go to spot for wine aficionados and neighborhood regulars, a like.
Located in a historic bank building, mikiah designed brix with copper accents and turned the vault into a VIP room to compliment the natural structure of the building.
With plans to build a fabulous patio, Brix is slated to be this summer's hot spot.
Need to know
OWNER // Mikiah Westbrooks
EXPECTED OPENING // late march, early april 2017
LOCATION // 7968 Kercheval Ave, Detroit, MI 48214
J'adore: What makes Brix different from other wine bars in the city?
Mikiah: “I think we have a lot of great bars in the city. I do. I think what will separate Brix is our focus is just wine, we won’t carry any other spirits. It’s just wine. You could be educated or you can just sit here and drink, we want to make it really comfortable. So I think that is something that will separate us because we are strongly focused on wine and making sure we bring in high end, premium wine that’s affordable for the consumer."
J'adore: How do you select your wine?
Mikiah: (Laughing) "A lot of tastings. Research is hectic but someone has to do it! We started tasting I want to say a year ago. I want to make sure I cover the gamut when it comes to regions which is really important. We will have some delicious wines we’ll be featuring in here. We’ll have Spanish wines, French wines, some South African Wines. We have a huge circle of distributors that reached out to us, especially after Motor City Match. I think that makes it a lot easier for us. And Again a lot of research, the research is endless."
J'adore: What makes you want to open a wine bar?
Mikiah: "You know, I’ve been asked this question so many times and I never get tired of answering it because it’s really the truth. I look back on my life and I think about a lot of thing that have happened in my life. Whether it was life or death, happiness, marriage, divorce. Girlfriends breaking up with their boyfriend’s, me and my girlfriends shared all of this over bottles of wine- cheap wine early on- but it was all done over a bottle of wine. I wanted to take that experience and bring it in here. I want women to walk in the door- of course I want men to come- but I want women to walk in the door especially in the vault, you feel like you’re having a moment at home with your best girlfriends. So that’s where it came from and the other part of it is, wine is a living thing, it comes from the Earth and I love the history behind it. Everyday they’re discovering new vines. Every single day something new is happening. It’s like a woman giving birth, that’s what wine is to me. I absolutely love it. My husband and I love it. We wanted to create a space we wouldn’t mind going to so that’s where this came from. You know, I do drink martinis, I do and I really do like martinis but there is something so different about wine. It’s a different kind of spirit."
J'adore: Will Brix serve food?
Mikiah: "Yes we will, we’ll carry charcuterie. We’re going to do smoked meats and cheeses. We’re going to do some imported and domestic. We’re going to do cheese and chocolates and everything that goes along with charcuterie."
J'adore: Are you going to have live music?
Mikiah: "Oh yes! We have this patio we’re going to have built out this year and you have to have music, you just have to. We’re hoping to get the local DJs to come in on Sundays and just play and create a vibe. I would really like this to be a destination spot for people to say you know what let’s make a day of it let’s go over here to West Village because we have so many cool businesses over here. We have so many great places over here and Brix is excited to be a part of that."
J'adore: Do you picture having monthly events?
Mikiah: "Yeah we’re going to do monthly events, things like that. We’ve had the building since October of 2015 and we’ve been working on the build out. I ended up winning Motor City Match, yay! We’ve been doing a lot of private events so we’ll continue to do that and tastings and make sure you will have the opportunity to come in here and be educated and walk out a little smarter than what you came in. Probably end up partnering with some of the businesses in the community and make it bigger than just about Brix, make it about the whole area. West Village is huge right now. There’s so much happening over here. I live right down the street."
J'adore: From getting the building back in October, to Motor City Match, to now, what did that process look like for you?
Mikiah: "It was a lot of work. A lot of work. We had to go over zoning and get a license- we decided to get a full license not just a wine license because eventually we may look to doing other things in another location. Just a lot of work but I won’t complain about it because it is all worth it. It’s been a true labor of love."
J'adore: What made you choose your location in the rehabbed bank building?
Mikiah: "My husband was walking down the street, Domino’s used to be here so he called me and said you have to come and see this space inside of the old bank building. I said, “No it’s the Domino’s building I don’t want to go in there.” And he said I have to, it’s absolutely beautiful. So we looked at the front space which is a gym, Detroit Body Garage. It was empty at time but I didn’t want it and then we came in here and I just knew this was it. I liked the whole building but I always tell people I have the coolest spot in the house."
J'adore: You definitely do, and what a great idea to turn the old bank vault into a VIP room.
Mikiah: "We wanted to keep it close to what it’s been all these years. There’s just so much history you don’t want to lose and there’s an energy when you walk in the room especially when there’s an event happening and there’s a ton of people sitting in this room and they’re excited and the energy is just really good, the vibe is good. I love the vault, I think the vault will probably be a lot of folks favorite places."
J'adore: How do you want guests to use the space?
Mikiah: "I want them to take ownership of it. I want them to walk in the door and feel like this is theirs because that’s why we created the space. It’s more about the consumer than it is about us. We just put things in here that we happened to like. We want people to walk in here and just feel like this is my place, and I love coming here. Customer service is something that we are strongly focusing on."
J'adore: When is Brix expected to open, what will the opening look like?
Mikiah: "Soon! We’re hoping really, really soon. We’re just waiting on the state to release our license, the build out is almost complete. We just have a few things inside the space that we have to complete but that will be done in a matter of days so we’re just waiting on the state. We’re hoping that it’s going to happen in March."
J'adore: Do you have something planned for the opening?
Mikiah: "We’re trying to keep it hush hush, right now. We do have some things in mind especially if it’s spring. It’s time to go outside, time to shed all those layers, time to drink some Rose. We want to do something that is going to be really really amazing for this community and anyone that wants to join. We’ll let the lid off of that soon, as soon as we hear something from the state we’re going to go all out. There will definitely be a lot of Rose flowing."
J'adore: When is your favorite time to have a glass of wine?
Mikiah: "After I’ve had a really long day and I just want to sit down and relax. Maybe take a hot bath. I love having a glass of Pinot Noir, sitting in the tub and listening to Marvin Gaye. That’s the perfect time for me."
J'adore: If you could have a glass of wine with a famous Detroit icon past or present, who would it be?
Mikiah: "Well technically Marvin Gaye did live here. It would have to be him. I would love to know if he drank wine and if he did what was his favorite."
J'adore: Is there anything else you would like J’adore readers to know about Brix, about yourself, about opening a business in Detroit?
Mikiah: "Nothing other than the fact we are so grateful that people are so patient. We are saying thank you in advance, we are really grateful that people have been extremely kind. We just want to make sure that once those doors open, we serve everybody the right way."
J'adore: How has Motor City Match Influenced your process of opening the business?
Mikiah: "Other than the money, I was awarded with 32,000 grant which I’m very grateful for. Other than that, they give you an opportunity to really get your business acumen up- you had to have your business plan in place, you had to understand your projections, you had to understand everything- they went through everything. From the top to the bottom of starting a business Motor City Match made sure you had everything in place before moving to the next round. They’ve been very instrumental and they continue to offer support. We’re in the process now of hiring so I’ll be speaking to them soon about partnering with us to bring on some staff. The support is continuous. I’m grant winner so they’ll be there to support me the whole time. I recommend anyone starting a business to look into it."
J'adore: What is your background, did you grow up in West Village?
Mikiah: "Yeah, I went to the school across the street. I’m from this area, my footprints are graced all throughout this neighborhood. You know, we moved to New York for my husband’s job and when we came back I was just happy to put something here in the neighborhood that raised me. I absolutely love Detroit. We were in New York and my husband wanted to start an ad agency and I said we have to do it in Detroit, we have to go home because it’s important that we come back to where we came from and make a difference. They say New York is the best city in the world, no Detroit is. Absolutely love it, I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else. We’re die hard Detroiters, we’ll probably be the last to cut the lights out."