This past Wednesday I visited two wine bars. One was with a young woman after work and the other was with yet another young woman somewhat later in the evening.
The first wine bar was a South African wine bar which I have previously mentioned. I was greeted warmly by two people that worked there. I have been to the place twice before but I was greeted as if I was a regular.
When my companion arrived she indicated that she preferred white wine as red wine tends to have an effect similar to caffeine. I was fine with that as a nice South African Chenin Blanc seemed like a nice wine to start the evening with. The server allowed us to try two kinds and we chose one which was nice Quaffer (simple, easy to drink wine).
The only negative comment I have about my experience there was that the server, thinking he was doing his job, kept coming over and pouring the wine from the bottle into our glasses. NOT A BIG DEAL of course but I MUCH prefer to do my own pouring. This in my mind better allows me to see the evolving of the wine in the glass (where relevant – which here with the Chenin it was not) and also allows me to maintain a level in my glass that I am comfortable with – something that is important to someonewho likes to swirl their wine as much as I do.
The next wine bar is a place in my neighborhood that we were informed opened 7 weeks ago. The place has an East side location that I have been to in the past. This location was very impressive. Quite large – not necessarily the best thing for a wine bar as the small, intimate setting seems to be the format that has proven to be most successful. It was dimly lit and had a warm feeling. I was most impressed by a storage room enclosed by see-through glass doors that kept the wines temperature & humidity controlled. Something I might want to include if I were ever to open a wine bar (hypothetically speaking of course ;)).
But the best part about this wine bar was the service. We were offered multiple tastes before ordering. There was no pressure whatsoever. And when the server could not answer a question she simply said that she better ask someone who could properly address the question – no BULLSHIT. Which I very much appreciated. BUT, it did not end there. We finally decided on a California Syrah. It was brought over, presented…and WAS OFF. I think it may have been corked, but definitely off. The server was extremely apologetic (which was not necessary) and was quick to offer to get us a different bottle. the other California Syrah option was brought out and proved to be a very fine wine. BUT, it did not end there. Apparently embarrassed by how long it took for us to get a satisfactory wine (I process that while long I actually enjoyed) the server offered to get us a plate of food on the house. My date had not yet eaten so we ordered a tuna tartare which actually went quite well with the Syrah (even though one might think that a tannic Syrah & salty raw fish might clash).
In all I had a lovely evening and I was very pleased with the warm service and decor in both locations. Something to aspire to…
Happy wine bar hopping!