Wine Rooms & Cocktail Bars

The trend for evening wine rooms of wines paired with tapas is seemingly an endless trend.  Cocktail bars are back with great gusto too! These places keep popping up hither and yon and one wonders if there will be a saturation in the market.  But that being said, there are good ones and bad ones.  I mean, c’mon…Starbucks Evenings?  Ahem…

For my friends in a few major cities in the US, you’ve already had (and are still having) this experience.  It’s coming here to Canada, to a few select cities.  Mine may be one of them. But I must know…do they just heat up the tapas on-site or are there Starbucks out there with kitchen facilities?  Or is it being catered?  Inquiring minds want to know. And if stuff is being heated (like their current breakfast selections) then I have to say I’m dubious…how can drinking Apothic Red with heated up tapas be enjoyable?

I have friends who sell wine and are excited about the prospect of featuring their wines for Starbucks evenings.  In looking at the wine menu for the select stores in the US that are doing this, it doesn’t look like many of them will have a chance.  It’s the usual suspects, including Apothic Red. Oh. Good. Grief.  (And I refuse to comment further on this because I just might get rude…)

But….there are good ones out there, and other than the crazy glass pour prices, what is coming out in a glass pour is fantastic and there a LOT of options! Artisanal spirits also are on the rise making cocktails of epic proportion. As part of my recent WSET diploma program, I wrote a paper on Gin and the rise, fall and rise again of this complex, interesting spirit. The history alone is fascinating, and what this spirit (among others) can do for a cocktail is mind-blowing. Bartenders these days are making their own mixes, simple syrups and tonics, making any cocktail even more artisanal. Trying to get into some of these cocktail bars is sometimes next to impossible…at least in my city anyway!

Back to the wine. My girlfriend and I hit The Wine Room to celebrate her birthday.  Yes, we splurged…3- 3oz glasses each, and significant pours I might add! I don’t think I’ve ever spent $21 on one glass of wine, but yes, yes I did!  The Wine Room has a spectacular cheese plateambience with the sense of being in a French wine cave.  The bar by the enosystem is truly unique supported by old oak barrels and the tops covered by wine boxes of all shapes, sizes and boasting some fine wines, all covered by a thick epoxy to keep it looking brand new. Stunning really. I would’ve stayed there longer, but my pocketbook was starting to whimper. To be served a cheese tray such as this would make anyone drool with anticipation!

J & M birthdayFast forward one year for another birthday celebration with the same girlfriend in another little wine room hangout called Privada Wine & Tapas. The young, entrepreneurial owner has done a fabulous job of putting this little place on the map with homemade charcuterie and fresh foods from local producers.  Chef Tony is a mastermind coming up with fabulous mouth-watering dishes perfect for sharing, and the small space ambience makes you want to try everything on the menu just so you can hang around a little longer! This place holds a special place in my heart as Kaylen (owner) purchases his wines from our store, and more recently, I was able to build him a 10-wine list to change things up and create pairings for the home-spun menu. Three whites, a rose and six reds were put forth and the first weekend was a raging success!  I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this “mini” wine-list. I hope I get to do more! It helps that I get to work with Kaylen on other events too, and if I do say so, we work very well together!

I love the ambience and feel of these wine rooms. You can talk a lot, or a little; have loud EDM style music or calming jazz fusion to further aid in the conversation, eating and drinking. Cin-Cin!

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One Response to Wine Rooms & Cocktail Bars

  1. Pingback: Edmonton blog roundup: Feb. 23, 2016 – Seen and Heard in Edmonton

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