This new champagne bar in downtown Cary wants people to be their authentic selves

You are not obligated to smile at this new champagne bar in downtown Cary.

All you have to do is show up and enjoy a bubbly drink or snack. Seriously.

At RBF, Your Authentic Champagne Bar, you are encouraged to be authentic, listen, connect with others, respect differences and celebrate similarities.

Tiffany Welton, the bar’s owner, says guests will see pictures all over the walls of people with their “RBF,” otherwise known as the unintentional facial expression that makes it seem that someone is annoyed or irritated, when really they’re just relaxed.

“I’ve taken RBF photos of my girlfriends, the dog, the cat, and my little old senior neighbor who lived next to me in Arizona,” she said. “It’s a little bit of everybody but spun in with cool vintage champagne photos and some really fun feminist photos.”

The bar offers almost 15 different types of champagne and sparkling wines, about 12 white wine varieties and 12 red wines. The menu features bruschetta, charcuterie and desserts.

There will be a soft launch opening Saturday and Sunday at its location on the bottom floor of the historic Williams House at 210 E. Chatham St. in Cary. There will be a limited menu until a grand opening towards the end of February.

The champagne bar is Welton’s first business, having made a career pivot from corporate America. She said she gave the bar its name because of her own facial expression.

“Even looking generally pissed, strangers have always felt compelled to speak to me and truly confide in sharing their deepest secrets, fears and dreams,” Welton said. “The RBF is meant to be a microaggression towards women and being unapproachable. In actuality, it makes us authentic. It makes us real. And it makes us a safe place to land.”

At RBF Your Authentic Champagne Bar, owner Tiffany Welton choose to operate on a “no tipping” model and pays employees above minimum wage.
At RBF Your Authentic Champagne Bar, owner Tiffany Welton choose to operate on a “no tipping” model and pays employees above minimum wage.

‘A different experience’

Unlike other sports or wine bars, RBF will be a place where people can learn about different kinds of champagne and wine, Welton said.

On the menu, guests can try sparkling wines from France, Mexico, Germany, Armenia, Austria and from local family-owned growers.

“There’s a lot that people don’t know about champagne and sparkling wine and it’s also been shown to be exclusive, like just for weddings or New Year’s,” Welton said. “So really part of it is educating people about the array of different sparkling wines from around the world.”

There are also non-alcoholic beverage options and food items like cheese and crackers, chips, nuts, and a s’mores bar with graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows.

The patio is dog-friendly.

“For me to have that creative control in all aspects of this is exciting,” Welton said. “I’m excited for the impact on my staff in a different way and for them to see leadership and women supporting women … people are really going to have a different experience.”

A no tipping model

Welton said she wants to offer customers, and her staff, the best experience possible. This includes operating on a no tipping model.

“I’m doing the living wage based on Cary/Raleigh,” Welton said. “Coming in this, putting in my capital, working with the bank, putting my whole being, my whole heart and doing something for the community, it didn’t feel right for me to have to pay a minimum wage.”

With the no tipping model, staff don’t have to worry about how much money they will leave with, Welton said.

“I don’t think that’s right. I think it’s kind of a toxic piece of the hospitality industry,” she said. “There was no way for me and my company and business and pay them little.”

Guests can still tip, Welton said, but she integrates some of the funds back into the menu.

Over the past year, Welton has been working to get the bar open, adding staff over the past week. Many of them have other full-time jobs.

“So they’re learning wine along with a lot of people and are learning and soaking it all in,” Welton said. “I brought them in for who they are and their dedication to what I’m doing in being able to connect.”

The Williams House, built in 1938, is across from Mid-Town Square in downtown Cary. It’s home to other retail stores, including Bull City Ciderworks on the first floor.

RBF Your Authentic Champagne Bar is open from 5 to 9 p.m. on Saturday and 12 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. More information can be found at