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Wine Goddesses

Alicia Whitney and Lisa Nonemaker are queens of the grape, and they’ve finally got their SeaLegs, too.

Oenophiles Alicia Whitney and Lisa Nonemaker are charting a course for O.C. wine lovers.

While there’s no shortage of great spots to toast on the coast, we’re currently enchanted with the vino vibe of SeaLegs (sealegswine.‌com) in Huntington Beach. It’s the perfect place to sip spectacular wine with friends. Just celebrating its first anniversary, this inviting wine bar and restaurant has a well-curated list, offering selections from around the globe and paying homage to limited-production Cali wines. Helming the hot spot are biz partners Alicia Whitney and Lisa Nonemaker. Both women left high-powered careers in the marketing-events and corporate sectors to captain the venture, and they’re now steering O.C.’s wine aficionados in exciting new directions. Here, they share their journey.

Why the name SeaLegs, and why in Surf City? 
AW: The name is a double entendre inspired by the legs on wine glasses and our beach location. The nautical element comes through in SeaLegs’ Hamptons-inspired vibe that isn’t really found in this area. We chose Huntington Beach because we both have built our lives here and there was nothing upscale yet casual where we could enjoy a glass of wine and good food with friends.

Tell us about your food. How was the menu developed? AW: We want our guests to come into SeaLegs to drink wine, order a bite to eat and stay. We’re not about turning tables. We’re about creating experiences. It’s about sharing our space with loved ones. Our shared plates are created by Executive Chef Alexander Dale to help facilitate that experience. Everything is made from scratch daily.

So, how did you get into wine? AW: Who isn’t into wine? Who drinks vodka anymore? That’s so 2009! LN: Both Alicia and I have enjoyed wine over the years. But when we opened SeaLegs, we developed an even greater love for it, now that we’re getting to know winemakers and the industry as a whole.

And your selection process? LN: As with every respectable wine bar, the list takes center stage with handselected varietals that were chosen organically by us. We’re committed to helping low-production wineries build their businesses. And our Captain’s List highlights cult wines and keeps guests intrigued about what will be offered from our glass-encased 2,000-bottle cellar.