In HearSway, SwaySnacks & Sips

Step into a watering hole that’s literally a hole in the wall. Then take two more steps and you’ve seen the whole thing. Standing Room Only is the newest wine shop in downtown Southern Pines and, at 75 square feet, is quite possibly the smallest … ever. Like the name implies, it only has room to stand. We can’t find a smaller wine shop in NC, but maybe we just can’t see it on a map.

Owner Pat McKee, whom you may recognize from Moore Karaoke, began the idea with business partner Manny Samson. After seeing a story about a tiny wine shop on Long Island, Pat immediately thought of opening something similar in the space beside Betsy’s Crepes which has been a record shop, jewelry store, comic book shop and more.

“We just wanted to make a neat little place,” says Pat. “We know we’re not a threat to any of the other spots in downtown. Most people have closets bigger than SRO.”

Here, it’s encouraged to be a stop along the way. The business partners dub it a “small space with big taste.”

The place has around 40 bottles at a time for sale or you can purchase by the glass. “We want it to be convenient,” says Pat. “There’s quality stuff here at a good value.” You can also get a pint of beer.

Pat worked in the restaurant industry for decades, and worked with wine often. He even met his wife at a wine festival, where we can only guess his pickup line was, “Chardon-heyyyy.” Pat is also the man behind the mic of Moore Karaoke. You may have seen him at various businesses around town or at street corner karaoke. People are already asking if he’ll host karaoke at SRO; he says it’s a maybe for now.

Only 3-4 people can comfortably stand at a time but you’re welcome to sit outside where there will be a few outdoor tables as well as tables shared with Betsy’s Crepes. Despite its small size, the process to make the shop was extensive — frankly, it was hard for inspectors to grasp the concept of such a small space. Once it was built, they were able to give proper permitting. “Everyone was wonderful to work with and it all came together,” says Pat.

Stop in Wednesday through Friday 3-8 p.m. or Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Keep up with what’s in store via Instagram.

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