By Katie Thomas EBS Contributor

BOZEMAN – One early September evening at Barley & Vine, tables filled up as patrons wandered in from the warm late summer evening. Just off of Main Street on South Willson Avenue, the small, cozy restaurant beckoned to passersby who may or may not have been planning an evening of tapas-style food paired with wine, beer, cider, or bubbles.

Barley & Vine, located in the space that used to be Over the Tapas, opened in August and offers small but hearty plates of gourmet dishes, a variety of cheese boards, an extensive wine list, happy hour, and weekend brunch. Brought to Bozeman by the owners of Dave’s Sushi and Jam!, Barley & Vine seeks to expand on the art of food-and-wine pairing for the connoisseur, while making the experience more accessible for foodie neophytes.

Our table of self-proclaimed foodies, perhaps excited by the concept of small plates excusing over-ordering, selected enough dishes for the apocalypse: the foie toast (foamy and creamy), asparagus (crispy with perfect hollandaise), escargot (fragrant with marsala broth and shitake mushrooms), ravioli (fresh and light), gnocchi (rich with blistered tomatoes), and a six-variety cheese board. We may have ordered more, if our server, while delightful in demeanor, had not seemed to be in a hurry for us to eat and vacate our table.

No amount of feeling rushed, however, can interfere with the dining experience at Barley & Vine. Each of the dishes we sampled was exquisitely executed and well-balanced. The cheese board accompaniments were especially delectable: the apricot jam perfectly complemented the double Gloucester; the fig spread, the garlic rosemary sausage; the mustard, the lamb Merguez.

Despite a many-course meal, the diners saved room for Barley & Vine’s sabayon, a custard-like desert with hints of honey and stonefruit and topped with almonds.

Paired with glasses of Garnacha from Spain and Italian prosecco, we enjoyed our fill of wine and bubbles, and decided we’d sample the beer and cider next time.

But we saved room for the sabayon, a creamy custard-like dessert with hints of honey and stone fruit, topped with slivered almonds—light, refreshing, heavenly.

You’ll find the décor at Barley & Vine, like the food, is very intentional. Warm, dark tones blend with natural accents and splashes of bright color on the ceiling and walls behind the cushy blue chairs and soft booths lining the room. With its long, thin table down the middle, corner booths encircled by curved walls, and relaxing music playing softly in the background, the atmosphere feels like a genuine snuggery—cozy with a dash of trendy comfort.

And yet, for those of us who remember not only Sweet Pea Bakery occupying the space, but also Wild Flour Bakery of the 1980s, some Bozeman history lingers inside. A sleek bar now sits where customers once lined up to purchase loaves of sourdough and baguettes. As Gallatin Valley continues to grow and change, more delicious and sophisticated options for eating, drinking, and being merry arise. Just off the beaten path enough to be local-friendly, Barley & Vine is certainly one of the most recent examples of this trend.

Barley & Vine is located at 19 S. Willson in Bozeman. Visit barleyvinemt.com for more information.