When it comes to vino this summer, step away from the familiar and sip your way through an extensive by-the-glass list at a local wine bar.
Written byBarbara Barrielle
Wine bars are a fast-growing trend here in the Valley, with the recent emergence of several hip, new spots—all aimed at giving wine lovers excellent and off-the-beaten-path choices by the glass. They’re super-cool venues where you can indulge your palate and expand your mind about all things born from the grape.
Vino Wine Room
Owned by Argentinian Alla Volk, this cozy watering hole offers a sophisticated combination of tapas and wine. Dimly lit and romantic, with outside seating on the sidewalk and an intimate back patio. Vino attracts locals, couples and plenty of first dates. Try the $17 glass of Cuvelier Los Andes paired with Vino’s famous Albondigas meatballs. For whites, the Domaine Gueneau Sancerre ($12) with the eggplant crujiente is wonderful when paired. Also take advantage of the filet mignon entrée, bargain priced at only $15. “Vino Hour” is 4 to 7 p.m. and includes some deals, like a DeLoach pinot noir at $6.
18046 Ventura Blvd., Encino
Luna Vine Wine Bar
New to the happening Magnolia Park corridor and already popular, this casual and modern wine hangout is helmed by Nick Caballero, who selects varietals and pours them into high-end Reidel stemware. Order the fun, perky Chateau Font-Mars Pic-Poul ($9) paired with zucchini fritters or the Textbook Merlot ($13) from Napa with the Wagyu sirloin cap. Definitely eat here; you’ll be amazed at the treats from this tiny kitchen overseen by owner Shannon VerGow. Happy hour is 4 to 7 p.m. with $3 off all wine and beer.
3206 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank
Red Room Food and Wine Bar
Adjacent to Coral Tree Café and sharing the same owners and kitchen, this establishment has a warm, neighborhood feel and offers outdoor patio seating. When it comes to beverages, Fernando Trivisonno—as the wine buyer—runs the show. He has created a comprehensive, well-crafted list that pays homage to every region of the world. Try a couple sample sips before deciding. We were particularly enamored by a Pol Clement Rose Sec Champagne for $13, which pairs nicely with oysters—the Thursday night special. 19 Rows Syrah ($12) from Encino (hyperlocal!) is great when paired with with the Sonoma lamb meatballs. Happy hour is 4 to 6:30 p.m., with live jazz and flamenco guitar midweek.
17499 Ventura Blvd., Encino
They’re roadside attractions.