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May 22, 2007 11:08 AM

Red White + Bluezz or Vertical Wine Bar?

We're planning a dinner in Pasadena this weekend, and based on previous posts, it looks like these two are likely candidates. Could someone who has been to both share the relative merits? TIA!

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  1. I like Vertical but I love RWB.

    Ambience wise, it's a push, and so it depends on what you're in the mood for. Vertical has a sleek modern feel to it, reminiscent of a good martini bar. RWB, as a former steak house, has a more down to earth feel. Food at both is pretty good, though if I had a creme brulee torch pointed at my head, I'd give the nod to RWB since it's a bit more innovative. (Their kobe "slider" duo has no bun! Their mac and cheese is encased in a cube of panko!) Wine is also a push, as both seem to have a good mix of wines available. Vertical actually has more of an edge in that regard, now that I think about it. RWB is probably more "user-friendly" as the menu gives tasting guides as to which wines pair with what cheeses.

    Here's my comparison of both:

    4 Replies
    1. re: SauceSupreme

      Sounds fantastic, what were the crowds like? Would it be too busy to be relaxing on a Sunday Night? Final question thought its not really "chowhound" was the music?

      1. re: illmatic85

        The crowds at both will be wine fans. Remember that Old Pas has enough destinations (both CH-worthy and otherwise) that there's no "accidental" visitors. If you don't want a wine bar, you move on.

        No one's going to rush you at either, so you can sit and sip and people watch while you try different wines and cheeses and nibble on charcuterie, which is something my friends and I love doing.

        By music, are you referring to the live acts at RWB?

          1. re: aching

            I've only been for the music once, but it's pretty cool. The entire back area of RWB has a nice speakeasy feel to it. All that's missing is cigarette smoke hanging low in the air. You can have the food back there, too. But the one night I went (Thursday or Friday, I believe) the jazz trio was a great accompaniment to a dinner with friends.

    2. So we did end up going to RWB. It was good, but not perfect. For starters, our party of five was seated at a big round table that would have comfortably seated ten - and that's kind of awkward. And it was smooshed up against the banquette where they keep the wine, so it felt like the waiters were sort of climbing all over us to get down bottles. On the plus side though, I really enjoyed the watermelon salad, the mac n' cheese, and the cheese and charcuterie plates we got. I would like to go back, but to be seated elsewhere!

      6 Replies
      1. re: aching

        Out of curiousity, how much did it cost, on average, per person? I almost took myself there over the weekend, but I worried about the bill.

        1. re: katkoupai

          I didn't pay the bill, so I don't know - sorry! But I can tell you that food was reasonably priced for that type of restaurant. We ordered kind of unconventionally - we shared a bunch of different things - but I would estimate that if you were just to have an appetizer or salad and an entree, it would run you $30-$40 pp, and then you would add wine accordingly.

            1. re: aching

              I also didn't pay, the small plates were pretty big and as I recall, not that expensive. If you order two small plates for yourself, it'll probably be more like $20 maybe 25. Three of us got the cheese plate, two small plates and an entree, and that was plenty. Of course, we filled up on vino too.

              1. re: slacker

                Thanks, slacker. I might go, one of these days. :)

          1. re: aching

            Glad to hear you liked it. I've never sat in that section of the restaurant you described (I'm either at a far table) but I know now to also avoid it.

          2. I went to both very recently. Each had my favorite wine, Gruner Veltliner, on the list and it was a great one at that. I say one, because they both had the same one. But as I said, it was really good so I ordered it at both joints. RWB also had another really pricey one that was a knockout, but not easy on the wallet. Meanwhile, Vertical had a dry Riesling from that same winery which was excellent. All in all, good wine lists at both, which is what you want from a wine bar, yes?