Kansas City’s first all natural wine shop has evolved into more than simply a place to buy wine, said Richard Garcia; Big Mood Natural Wines now is the go-to spot for food, drinks, live entertainment and community.
“Big Mood has morphed organically over the past few years into what it is now. When we first opened, we were confined to pandemic restrictions. Now we are bringing in vendors and other small businesses, hosting shows with up to 100 people sometimes — all in this tiny venue that originally was just a retail wine shop,” said Garcia, the owner of Big Mood Natural Wines.
Click here to read more about Big Mood Natural Wines and its origins.
Big Mood Natural Wines is celebrating its three year anniversary at its storefront in the Crossroads Arts District on Friday, Aug. 4. The celebration — which happens to land on First Friday (a monthly event in the Crossroads that highlights food trucks, art galleries and street vendors) — will feature a DJ, exclusive Big Mood merch and a speciality menu.
“We’re anticipating a pretty big crowd,” Garcia noted. “I’m sure a lot of people will come here for First Fridays wanting to party, not even knowing that it is our three-year anniversary.”
Throughout the past three years, Big Mood created consistent partnerships with other local vendors — such as Devoured Pizza, Tacos Valentina and Disco Burger — allowing patrons to enjoy meals alongside their beverages.
“We’ve slowly introduced on-premise consumption, and in the last year, we’ve extended seating by adding tables and building out a bar,” Garcia said, pointing to the tables on the ground floor that were added in April.
A portion of Big Mood’s bar and equipment was made possible by the Hispanic Chamber of Greater Kansas City, Garcia noted. Earlier this year, Big Mood Natural Wines was awarded the $10,000 Folklore Grant, which was presented by Wells Fargo, The Hispanic Chamber of Greater Kansas City, Fresco Marketing and the Nuwin Foundation.
“That helped me purchase the beverage cooler, an ice machine, hand sink and dishwasher, so now we have a legit bar set up,” Garcia said. “We’ve been serving cocktails since around April.”
The 800-square-foot space can currently seat 40 people, and Garcia has plans to further expand seating accommodations, he noted.
Along with pandemic restrictions being lifted, a new Big Mood team has caused the business to shift. In 2021 around Big Mood’s one-year anniversary, Garcia split ways with his two partners and became the sole owner. In October 2022, Mathew Chapman joined Big Mood and soon became the shop’s entertainment booker and graphic designer.
“My wife and I worked in natural wines in Austin for a while; I was a wine and cider maker, and my wife helped manage a natural wine bar,” Chapman said. “When we were moving here, we were looking for the natural wine spot, which is Big Mood.”
Chapman founded the booking company Long Haul — which hires musicians, comedians and DJs to perform at Big Mood — as well as Disco Burger, a pop-up burger concept. Chapman created Disco Burger alongside Darren Victor Carter.
“We serve a simple smashburger that’s executed really well,” Chapman said.
“They usually sell out within half an hour,” Garcia added. “Pop ups like them have really helped cement this place as an option to go out, enjoy yourself and have a really nice night.”
Big Mood also offers weekly promotions to bring in and give back to the community, Garcia said. Monday’s are Service Industry Night, which is a 15 percent discount and no corkage fee for food service workers. Thirst Trap Thursdays are an $8 guided wine tasting of three different wines. Friday is KC Tenants night, and 10 percent of all sales after 6 p.m. are donated to KC Tenants. Starting in late August, Big Mood will offer karaoke on Wednesdays.
The goal of Big Mood Natural Wines is to be a welcoming neighborhood spot for all to enjoy, both Chapman and Garcia agreed.
“Accessibility is incredibly important to us,” Chapman shared. “For a long time, the wine industry has perpetuated this image of exclusivity — but we’re not here to shame you about whether or not you want an ice cube in your pinot.”
“Just as natural wine rejects the standards of what wine has to look like or taste like, so does Big Mood reject the notion that wine is only for a certain class of people,” Garcia echoed. “Everyone is welcome at Big Mood, including — especially — people from marginalized communities, who may have been told at some point that wine was not for them. We hope that with our expansion and events, we can share some really great wine with people who are interested in drinking something different.”