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Stellar Sips - American Wine Bars


American Wine Bars that Offer
Selection with Style

Since ancient times, wine has been an antidote to daily doldrums--lifting the spirits, creating community and, in general, softening the edges of raw reality. Greeks gathered joyously at tavernos—earlier versions of modern wine bars —to socialize, discuss the matters of the day and to sip and savor Dionysus’ gift to man.

Today, the wine bar culture is enjoying a renaissance of sorts with a new breed of younger, more diverse wine enthusiasts in search of setting, selection and savings. Hit any of the wine bar hotspots across the globe and the demographic has shifted: studied, 50-something vinophiles are invariably rubbing elbows with hip Gen X’ers seeking affordable wines, unpretentious service and an approachable but eclectic wine list (think small producers from focused worldwide regions). An energetic social scene is an additional must.
We chose six wine bars across the country that are creatively meeting the needs of this new breed of patron, while at the same time continuing to attract the more traditional wine lover:

   
SAN FRANCISCO
LONDON WINE BAR
415 SANSOME STREET, SF
PH: 415.788.4811

VINO VENUE
686 MISSION STREET, SF
PH: 415.341.1930


NEW YORK
‘INOTECA
98 RIVINGTON STREET, NY
PH: 212.614.0473


LOS ANGELES
A.O.C.
8022 W. THIRD ST, L.A.
PH: 323.653.6359


CHICAGO
AVEC
615 W. RANDOLPH, CHICAGO
PH: 312.377.2002


DALLAS
CRU, A WINE BAR
3699 MCKINNEY AVE, DALLAS
214.526.9463PH: 972.702.9463


Web Extra
ADDIDTIONAL WINEBAR LISTINGS

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WINE STORAGE

Dedicated wine bars and wine-oriented eateries know that storing and protecting the stock is top priority.

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TIPS FOR A TERRIFIC HOME WINE BAR
Whether your taste is grounded or grand, a few essentials will ensure your home wine bar is primed for the long haul

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SAN FRANCISCO
London Wine Bar. San Francisco has a reputation for the eccentric, and this wine bar delivers on that reputation with an ambiance that appears to have changed little since its opening in 1974. Metallic grapevine wallpaper, wooden paneling and booths, and a homey menu featuring cheese plates, chips and fondue creates a dusty, down-to-earth setting ideal for first-time wine drinkers or old-school enthusiasts with a need for nostalgia. The wine list offers 40 to 50 wines by the glass and is focused mainly on affordable California wines from small producers, easing novices into the world of wine without breaking the bank. Claiming to be the oldest wine bar in the U.S., the London also offers substantial deals on bottles and cases.

Vino Venue. Technology meets tradition in this new wine lounge/retail shop offering 104 esoteric wines from around the world and the chance to “try before you buy.” Guests purchase a tasting card and insert it into an automated wine station that dispenses one-ounce, individually priced (from $1 to $28) pours of the wines. The card also tracks the taster’s activity and keeps a record of what has been tasted. The user-friendly ambiance continues with on-site sommelier Catherine Fallis’ straightforward suggestions and a regular series of vertical, horizontal and regional tastings.

NEW YORK
‘inoteca. Wine lovers are flung lovingly into the canon of Italian varietals at this wildly popular, Lower East Side bar and restaurant opened in 2003. In addition to its trendy location, cozy interior and in-the-know clientele, the hotspot offers 315 Italian wines (30 of them available by glass or carafe) and a zippy wait staff without a hint of attitude eager to guide patrons through the list. The list is diverse in selection and price—so feel free to drop $200 or $30 on a bottle—and perfectly paired with award-winning small plates of fried olives, panini and cured meats. The upbeat vibe here makes wine tasting an unpretentious treat.

CHICAGO
Avec. Wine drinking breeds community, and this intimate gathering place (meant to resemble the inside of a wine barrel) is sure to gain patrons some fun new friends on their wine tasting adventures. Light cedar slats, hickory floors and oak benches typify the modern space that houses just five eight-person communal tables and a 15-person bar, and to add to the charm, the 150-bottle, 30-wine-by-the-glass list specializes in unusual, small-producers from Spain, France, Italy and Portugal. Chef de cuisine Koren Grieveson turns out an array of creative offerings like roasted rabbit and homemade sopressata salami, so you and your new pals can play around by pairing your Chateau Coupe-Roses with an equally unique bite to eat.

LOS ANGELES
A.O.C. L.A. scenesters love this sleek spot for its Hollywood glitz and celebrity cachet—turn to your left at the buzzing bar and you might find Giselle sipping a Cote-Rotie alongside you. But the wine list is equally stellar at this classy bistro run by Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne, the ladies behind Lucques. A.O.C. thrives on selection—they offer 50 dry wines by the glass alone—and guests can experiment with half-glasses, carafes or flights from a wide-ranging list featuring everything from on-the-rise Spanish varietals to Pinots from Central California. Though attracting a tony crowd, A.O.C. is equally inviting to the adventurous novice willing to pay for the privilege of sipping and swirling with the stars. Mediterranean mini-entrees add to the fun.

DALLAS
Cru A Wine Bar. More than 500 wines by the bottle, glass or flight are on hand at this trendy West Village bar where flickering candles, wine label murals and a mahogany bar attract well-heeled couples, old school enthusiasts and fledgling wine fans. Located next to the Angelika Theater, the newly-opened bar is a magnet for indie-film hipsters who can conclude an evening with a flight of Rosés on the outdoor patio. Its lengthy wine list and impressive menu offerings (think beef tenderloin or crab cakes) easily please most tastes. Flights change daily, inspiring guests to check in frequently for the newest find.

Web Extra ADDIDTIONAL WINEBAR LISTINGS | WINE STORAGE | TIPS FOR HOME WINE BAR


MAR/APR 2005
TABLE OF CONTENTS

FEATURE ARTICLES
Artisanal Food Producers
  • MEAT- Prized Poultry
  • CHEESE - A Cultured Affair
  • PRODUCE - Northern Delights
  • SEAFOOD - Deep Waters
  • SPICES - Exotic Spices
Stellar Sips - American Wine Bars
  • Wine Storage
  • Tips - Home Wine Bar
FOOD & WINE
ON THE RADAR
SOCIAL TOAST
BITS & BITES


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