Tipsy Liquor World (Littleton,CO)
At first being that I am a bit of wine snob (implying that I think I know a lot when in actuality I am very new at the game and just barely get by faking it) and I love good food, I was really excited when Tipsy's came in near where I live in Littleton, CO. Even more exciting than having North America's largest liquor store in my backyard was the fact that the liquor store included a wine bar with a tapas style menu. My first disappointment actually happened a week or so ago when my wife and I went to the wine bar for drinks (or at least intended to). During the first week end we had visited the wine bar and were pleasantly surprised. There were still some kinks for an opening weekend but all in all the prices were moderate with glasses of red and white ranging from affordable ($6 - $7 per glass) to obscene ($20 - $25 per glass). We parked ourselves at the bar and proceeded to try to determine that this may be our new go to place for drinks. However, when we ventured back out a week later on a Monday night we were very disappointed to see that the prices had risen from $6 - $7 to nothing less than $8 per glass. When we asked the bartender what had happened he replied (in a semi condescending manner) that this was intended to be a high end wine bar and they had raised the prices because they were serving better stuff, too which end he pointed me to a glass of Orin Swifts "The Prisoner" for $18 a glass. Now I already have a bottle at home and yes it is very good indeed. However, I don't order $18 glasses of wine (not unless I'm on expense account at least) and the insinuation that because I am young (25 yrs old), which I got from his tone, and I may not get where I was he felt the need to school me. Well here's my two biggest suggestions: 1) Classy and high end sort of go a bit out the window when you park a wine bar in the middle of the world's largest liquor store so perhaps you need be who you are and add a little neighborhood vibe to the place as well 2) Although the ambience is nice this is not downtown Denver it's the suburbs and although you may have several wealthy clients lining up for glasses of cult California Cab. take the challenge and be a wine bar. Open your list up to include a little off the beaten track more affordable stuff like a Malbec from Argentina, a Syrah or Cotes du Rhone style wine from South Africa and maybe even a solid Sauv. Blanc from New Zealand (my wife's first love).
Second, Tipsy's itself is nice and the wine section including the fine wine section, which I only venture to when my wife is either not with me or is very distracted, offers numerous options. However, what is lacking is a (as in one) or several (what they really need) wine consultants or any one with a hint of knowledge about their vast selection. Now I know if I like wine theoretically I should already know what I want and in many cases this is true. However, on the rare occasion I am cooking a dish or I want to explore a new terroir I need someone to point me in the right direction. A day or so ago I thought I had found my guy until I realized that every bottle he gave me where from the same distributor indicating that he was cruising the isles to push his product (a practice that should be stopped and is a bit tacky if you asked me, however, I respect the man's right to make a living).
All in all, I will give Tipsy's second chance and I am hoping on the off chance someone reads this that things will change. If not I will find somewhere else to buy my swill.
Thanks for the report, I guess there is another place north of Denver on I25 that also claimed to be "largest". You spotted what I've experienced at Applejack, the distributor's folks stocking shelves and pushing their wines. I was burned a couple of times, now if I get approach when cruising the isles, I tell them I have never had a good recommendation from a rep. Its really fun to watch them squirm.