Four for the Pour
If you can't drink from the source, try these local wine barsLos Angeles
Owned and operated by Santos Uy and Danny Kronfli, two USC alumni, this tiny wine bar is a cork's throw from the campus at the corner of Hoover and Union. Although the Venetian bar's specialties are Italian and some French wines from small producers, the owners like to introduce esoteric varietals from Slovenia, Croatia and Portugal. Small plates are substantial in portion size and delicious, using local organic produce.
Vertical Wine Bistro
Producer Gale Anne Hurd has put together one sophisticated wine bistro in Old Town Pasadena (the historic building was formerly George Hamilton's cigar lounge). The cellar is stocked with some 400 bottles, the bar offers around 100 wines by the glass and 15 flights of wines are served daily. The emphasis is more on international wines than Californian, informs sommelier Scott Teruya. Chef Sara Levine works her magic with the tapas menu.
Uber chef Daniel Boulud's eatery empire now includes a bar-come-bistro near Lincoln Center. The wine theme rings throughout the sleek modern interior, from the vaulted ceiling reminiscent of a cellar to the backlit gravel wall that evokes vineyard terroir. A selection of 500 wines focuses on Burgundian and Rhone varietals from France and the New World. Delectable French terrines and pates accompany bistro dishes, while a late night charcuterie and cheese menu satisfies the apres-theater crowd.
Small eclectic wines as well as known international labels are poured in a garden parlor ambiance in the West Village. An array of mezzes, cured meats, cheeses and unique cocktails using obscure spirits like the Mediterranean Raki can be found on the menu. Wine consultant Jeffrey Weinstein designs monthly installations of music and wine, spirits and design, and food and art.