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ITALIAN food and then a wine bar - any suggestions?

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My 27th birthday is in a couple of weeks. A few friends and I were thinking of going to a nice-but-not-staid Italian restaurant (not too expensive) and then a nearby wine bar. Any suggestions? Preferably somewhere with a lot of energy. No chains please. We're open to West LA, Pasadena, Melrose, La Cienega, West Hollywood, etc. Pretty much anywhere except Orange County and the Valley.

Many thanks.

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  1. There are 2 cool wine bars in Culver City - BottleRock and Vinum Populi. Ugo is an Italian restaurant next door/connected to Vinum Populi, but not so good. Novecento Pasta & Grill (on Main Street) is a much better choice and walking distance from both wine bars.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Obessed

      Vinum Populi is so awesome! You buy a card and then go around to all of the different wine stations and buy 1 oz pours. Pours go from $1.73 to $21+. You can also sit at available chairs and order food from the adjoining restaurant. Wine rocks, food is eh. Bottle rock is okay - better food, but the service is awful (maybe because they are so busy..?)

    2. Farfalla on Hillhurst in Los Feliz area is like a neighborhood trattoria in Italy. Good, decent, well-done food, extensive wine list and great pizzas and pastas. Just a few doors down, by the same owners, is the Vinoteca wine bar (which shares some of its food items with Farfalla and next door Tropicalia Brazilian restaurant).

      1. Thanks Obsessed, that's exactly what I was looking for!

        1. For the wine bar you should go to Air conditioned...on Pico...great wine bar...great DJ and your age appropriate to enjoy the eye candy...they pour about 20 different wines by the glass, and a few micro beers on tap...as for italian food...not much but Lares is next door.

          Bottle Rock is BORING...trust me you will like AC more. And Ugo to eat..yuck!!

          1. I have to disagree with your opinion about BottleRock...I've been there a handful of times and it's always a good time and fun crowd.

            I do agree that Ugo is not very good and that's why I didn't recommend it.