Sommelier Bret Heiar - Biography

October 2018

Bret Heiar’s hospitality career began as a fry cook at I-80’s World’s Largest Truck Stop in Walcott, Iowa, at the age of 16. He continued as a line cook for a few years, but then moved to the front of house and found his passion for all things fermented and distilled. Studying to become a level two sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers, Heiar traveled the world, visiting wineries, distilleries, and breweries, and working as many harvests as he could.

Heiar officially kicked off his beverage career with the Goddess Restaurant Group in Chicago, for which he worked for nearly a decade under Debbie Sharpe at her properties Feast, Cru Wine Bar, and Goddess and Grocer. After working briefly at Trenchermen, Heiar moved to his current role with One Off Hospitality Group, where he is the wine director for Publican Anker and Nico Osteria. Publican Anker is the newest restaurant from Paul Kahan, and Nico Osteria is an Italian seafood haven located in the Thompson Hotel in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood. Having always been a collector, Heiar enjoys peppering his wine lists with affordable obscurities he finds at auctions, giving his patrons a chance to taste something rare and off the beaten path.

An active Muay Thai enthusiast, Heiar shows his dual passions through his tattoos, with traditional art covering one side of his body and wine barrels adorning the other