The building was there before – I can’t remember what kind of business it was – but a few years ago, it was done up to be an ice cream parlor. The location is a both a blessing and a curse. It’s right on a busy highway, but that highway is divided, so you can’t get there from here. If you come at it from the other direction, you’d better know exactly where it is because you’re past the entrance before you know it. And if you do find it, you’d better not be going any too fast because as soon as your front tires touch the asphalt, you have to hook sharply right in the parking lot.
That one way sign is right in your face as soon as you get onto the property and you’d better go that way, too otherwise you end up inside the iron patio railing. The patio was the site of tables and benches when the place was an ice cream parlor and is unused now. If you ask me, they’re overlooking a great venue for outdoor wine-tasting events but it’s not that kind of local market, I guess.
It’s the little cousin of the Evil Clown. The guy behind the counter told me that its separate ownership but yes, its the same – they have the same flier. (Bingley: Flier? What flier? I never saw a flier.) The two stores are even on the same highway, about 5 miles apart, but they serve entirely different customers. The Clown is located in the middle of NYC commuter territory and the Carousel is in more of a 3 cases of beer in the back of the pick-up location.
It has a charm that pulls you in, doesn’t it? The planets must have been in alignment yesterday because I got it on the first shot. More evidence of its ice cream parlor roots can be seen inside in the fetching wall paper theme. Its a small place and a good deal of the floor space is given over to stacks of beer cases. I wouldn’t call them aisles, exactly, its more of a maze effect going on there. And I suppose there is an order to the arrangement but it was not apparent on my first visit.
They do have these twee little carts on hand, but you’d have to be pretty determined and pretty skillful to navigate one around without clipping a box or two during the journey. But they do indeed have the same inventory as the Clown – the difference is the volume on display. The Clown was a supermarket in its previous life and has kept the fixtures includeing the cases and suburban supermarket-sized carts and lays out the California wines in the old vegetable display counters. The rest of the stock is on shelves that formerly held canned goods and refrigerated dairy items. I was after a bottle of Beringer Third Century Cabernet-Sauvignon, which I found in a pile of 20 or so bottles at The Clown last week. here, I took one of the two bottles in the rack.
The upside for me is that its almost under my nose but its no place to wander around for half and hour reading labels and enjoying yourself. For that, The Clown is much better. But if I know what I’m after, this is a quick stop to make at the end of a wearying work day.