Release your inner creative at Bottle & Bottega Evanston at 1016 Davis St.
Call 847-905-9177 or visit www.bottleandbottega.com/evanston.
by Hal Schweig
The crowd leans forward in eager anticipation to hear the results of the sealed envelope. The envelope is torn open and the answer read. The crowd cheers enthusiastically. The Motion Picture Academy Awards?
No, it’s a “Gender Reveal” party at Bottle & Bottega Evanston except the gender of the baby-to-be is revealed with paint.
Bottle & Bottega is a nationwide chain of franchised “paint and sip” studios that specialize in helping customers uncork their creativity with a paintbrush in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. They host parties for all types of occasions, including baby showers, birthdays, fundraisers, bachelorette and bridal showers, corporate events and for any other reason people want to get together with friends, family and coworkers to celebrate a special occasion.
On the corporate side, B & B helps companies and institutions host creative corporate retreats and team building events for their employees at the Evanston studio or conference centers, hotels and other venues where larger groups can be accommodated.
The Gender Reveal party, new to the franchise, is an event in which the expecting parents announce the gender of their baby-to-be with friends and family gathered around to share the good news. Usually, the expecting couple have already been told by their doctor, but occasionally, a couple will choose to learn the baby’s sex at the same time as everyone else. In that case, the doctor puts the findings from the ultrasound in a sealed envelope, so that even the expecting parents don’t know until it is dramatically disclosed at the Bottle & Bottega party.
Lynette Martin, owner of the Evanston Bottle & Bottega, joined the franchise in August 2012 after 21 years in executive positions with two major Chicago banks. She began her B & B association doing “pop-up” parties. At that time she hadn’t yet purchased the studio in Evanston, but was arranging Bottle & Bottega art parties in customers’ homes, private rooms in restaurants and bars and other types of “off-site” venues. She opened her own B & B paint and sip studio in Evanston about a year later, in 2013.
“These types of parties,” Lynette Martin explained, “reflect today’s cultural phenomenon of sharing. For example, we share so much of our lives these days on social media with friends and family.”
Whatever the specific event, the parties typically last three hours and include a cocktail social of about 30 minutes, followed by art instruction from a professional and then painting by the participants, which consumes about two, to two and one-half hours.
Sometimes each party member will create his/her own painting, and sometimes the group will work together on a large custom mural. In the case of the Gender Reveal party, the group may work on a single large canvas or multiple canvases fitting with the theme of the new baby’s nursery.
The Bottle & Bottega parties are BYOB. The hosts provide the wine and also food, if they desire, and the studio supplies the setup – the wine glasses, ice buckets, cutlery and plates, if needed, and the cleanup afterward. The studio provides the art materials – the canvases, paint, brushes, aprons, etc.
Bottle & Bottega hosts public parties seven days per week. Most public events cost $35 per person; while private and corporate events start at $40 per person.
Hal Schweig is a novelist from Skokie.