The Check-In: A one-of-a-kind champagne bar, Maui travel advisories, and more

Welcome to The Check-In, our weekend feature focusing on all things travel.

Napa’s Be Bubbly is a sparkling surprise

When Erin Riley saw there wasn’t a dedicated champagne bar in wine-centric Napa, California, she set out to change this. That was three years ago, and today, her Be Bubbly lounge is a destination for locals and visitors looking to enjoy a glass of brut or bottle of rosé.

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Be Bubbly was “built with Southern hospitality and love,” Riley, a Memphis native who was raised in Nashville, told The Week. She grew up in the industry, with her mother running a gourmet shop and restaurant. “My mom made people feel special,” Riley said, and she wanted to emulate this at Be Bubbly, making each patron “feel like they’re coming into my home.”

It’s a comfortable space for sipping and snacking on elevated fare like the Regiis Ova caviar bites. Lit up by chandeliers and neon signs, there’s a long bar that’s good for solo visitors, tables in the front for larger groups, and enclosed booths for those seeking a cozier vibe. Depending on the night, there could be live music, a DJ or a drag queen performing, and inclusivity is important to Riley. “It’s about allowing everyone to see themselves here,” she said.

That includes patrons who don’t know much about champagne; all they need to do is tell Riley or another one of the “Bubbleheads” working what they like, and they’ll guide them to the right glass or bottle, or suggest one of the six flights made up of three 2.5-ounce pours. “We want to build a longer table, not higher walls,” sommelier Scott Lange said. “We have the ability to let everyone share in this experience.”

Be Bubbly is in Napa’s SoFi (South of First) District, where all of the boutiques, restaurants, tasting rooms, and small businesses are independently owned. “We’re the little guys,” Riley said. “We support each other and promote each other.” She has been close to her neighbors since she signed the lease for Be Bubbly in March 2020, just a few days before the Covid shutdowns began.

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Riley wanted the name of her bar to reflect what she offered inside, an effervescent space where everyone is welcome and the champagne and conversation are always flowing. “Be you at Be Bubbly,” she said.

In wake of fires, travelers asked to reschedule upcoming trips to Maui

People who have non-essential travel to Maui booked in the coming weeks are being encouraged to reschedule their trips, due to the devastating wildfires that have killed at least 80 people and destroyed hundreds of structures. “In the days and weeks ahead, our collective resources and attention must be focused on the recovery of residents and communities that were forced to evacuate their homes and businesses,” the Hawaii Tourism Authority said in a statement.

The wildfires decimated Lahaina, a historic town that was once the royal residence of King Kamehameha III. In the center of Lahaina on Front Street is a massive 150-year-old banyan tree, which provided shade for residents and visitors alike and was a point of pride for the community. The tree was burned, but is still standing. Other landmarks, including the oldest home on Maui, were completely destroyed.

In case you missed it…

The Tower of Pisa will keep on leanin’ on. The famous structure has tilted since its earliest days in the 12th century, and in the 1990s underwent an extensive stabilization restoration to save it. Last week, the Opera della Primaziale Pisana (OPA), the body that oversees the tower, announced that it is in good condition and ready for its 850th birthday. “Today, the bell tower is a stable monument,” OPA President Andrea Maestrelli declared, and can look to the future with “great confidence.”The price of airfare — both international and domestic — is down right now, as kids start heading back to school and summer vacations wind down. If you’re thinking of taking advantage of a sweet deal, don’t wait; travel experts say fares are expected to go back up in September and October, as people begin planning their holiday flights.Here’s the buzz: Ahead of World Honey Bee Day on August 19, the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa installed 10 beehives on the property, with the goal of being able to sustainably produce enough honey for guests year-round. Each hive has about 60,000 bees, and there is a dedicated beekeeper on site to take care of them. The honey is used in everything from breakfast dishes to spa treatments.Skip advert


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