Drinking and driving is never a wise idea, but there is a place in Ohio where it’s, dare we say, par for the course.
At Fion Wine Room and Classic Swing Golf Range, a member of Logan County Electric Cooperative, you can sip a glass of chardonnay, a wine slushie, even a wee bit of whiskey … and practice your drive, chip, or putt while you imbibe.
The unique destination, the brainchild of Mike and Stacy McVan, is surrounded by Ohio farmland near Huntsville. How did the couple — who live in the Columbus suburb of Dublin — hit upon the concept four years ago?
“We have relatives who own a winery in northwest Ohio,” Mike says. “We liked the idea … but decided we didn’t want to make the wine.” Instead, they aimed to open a place that would spotlight wines — and other libations — from around the globe.
When a driving range near touristy Indian Lake came up for sale, they seized on the opportunity. “We’ve spent summers at Indian Lake, so it seemed like a natural fit,” Mike says. “We could see its potential, so we bought it at auction that very night. We finalized the deal in the parking lot.”
But transforming the venue took a U-turn when they discovered it was smack-dab in the middle of a dry township.
“We couldn’t get a liquor license. So, we spent one summer going door to door to gather signatures and get on the ballot.” The year-long process panned out, and after the next election, they were ready. Meanwhile, the McVans had used the downtime to spiff up the place for a wide range of pursuits.
In addition to the warm and inviting wine room that seats 100, Fion boasts a covered patio overlooking the countryside, complete with a fire pit and surround sound; two party and special event rooms; and the driving range and putting green.
Mike says the wine room attracts lots of folks, from couples out on a date night to groups of women celebrating a girls’ night out. “People have been really excited about our place; it’s kind of upscale and offers a unique place to go.”
In summer, when the nearby lake is buzzing with visitors, Fion offers a place to gather after a day on the water. Other times, the venue is a spot for hosting parties, corporate events, weddings, and more. “To be honest, people are coming here from all over — Dayton and Columbus and Toledo,” he says.
“Fion” is the Irish word for wine, Mike explains. “I’m Irish; St. Patrick’s Day is my favorite holiday.”
Granted, the Emerald Isle isn’t exactly known for its vineyards. So, at Fion, they also pour whiskey and other spirits and all kinds of beer, from craft varieties and microbrews to Irish staples like Guinness.
Fion even has a secret menu, favored by regulars. Especially popular are the chocolate martini and festive, holiday peppermint martini. “It’s a happy place,” Mike says. “Everyone leaves with a smile.”