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wine and small plates need

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hey all,
I am looking for a recommendation for wine (or beer) and small plates for a group of 6 trying to all reconnect. We are all in our 20's and want a place that we can really have some fun and chat and enjoy reconnecting but to dance or anything like that, we would just leave and go elsewhere (we wouldnt tie one on where we were eating). I have some reservations for Proof and I was really excited about it but i think the prices are going to be a little high. I would like to stay around $30 PP all inclusive. With the wine prices at proof, i thought that would be a little tough (maybe i am wrong). Does anyone have any other suggestions for good places, either Dupont/Georgetown/Penn Quarter area? we are certainly not epicurean but it would be cool to do a place that would be unique for most of us.
help me out please!

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  1. So I just learned about Cork. these boards seem to be quite positive about it. any recent experiences?
    Any other small plates place I wouldn't know about (otherwise, we may go to zaytinya because i like it but i have had it many times)

    1 Reply
    1. re: daves_32

      If you're willing to venture to U Street, Tabaq might be good for you. Its mezze are reasonably priced, as are its drinks, and it's a pretty swank, lively place. While I love the usual small plate suspects in Penn Quarter (Zaytinya, Jaleo, Oyamel - thanks Senor Andres!), Tabaq is a good way to change it up.

    2. I think Vinoteca on U street (at 11th i think) would be perfect for you. They have happy hour every day including friday and lots of really tasty eats for about $5 (tapas kind of things). Several wine BTG selections for $5 too. If you go early enough you could take over a chunk of the bar. The service is better there and if i'm not mistaken the tapa specials are only good at the bar (although there might be some tables in the bar area there too).
      haven't been to Cork yet but Veritas and Proof and Sonoma are probably a little spendier than you want. Eat Bar in Clarendon might be good if you are willing to travel a little.

      5 Replies
      1. re: DCDOLL

        any other recs? we are leaning towards zaytinya because most people have never been there before. beer or wine and small plaes still.
        the reason why we think small plates is since we are all still young, it is easier to reconcile the bill at the end.
        any other suggestions?

        1. re: daves_32

          I second Vinoteca - it sounds perfect for your needs. While I really like Zaytinya, I think their wine selection is more limited and more expensive than places which are more wine-centric. So while you may save a few bucks on small pates versus Proof, you will drink more expensive wine. Vinoteca is extremely metro-accessible. Cork is usually jam-packed and getting a table might be difficult.

        2. re: DCDOLL

          i was going to note that most of the wine bars offer such nice happy hour deals, eating there for a full dinner is almost silly

          1. re: daves_32

            Would you consider a happy hour? If so, Taberna's half-price tapas would be a great solution for you. You get fantastic food and can set aside some cash for after-dinner drinks.

            1. re: katecm

              This is going to be Saturday night. if any of these deals are no on saturday nights, they won't work for us

        3. I haven't been to a lot of the new wine bars/small plates restaurants that folks have been recommending (although I hear good things about a bunch of them).

          But perhaps you should check out the lounge at PS7. Their drinks are awesome, and if you hit it during happy hour the wines are just around $4 and food $7. Their appetizers are fun and tasty. And you can probably get a table outside on their lovely deck area. Even if you make a reservation for non-happy hour times I think you could order a bunch of appetizers to share.

          Also another idea completly would be Heritage in Dupont Circle for Indian. Their Hawker's Zone menu is traditional street food and delicious. You can order a ton of plates with your friends at a cheap price. Of course I can't make any promises about their wine list, except that it does exist. I'm usually more knowledgable about the food vs the wine.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Elyssa

            food recs are better for me than wine recs. I personally am not a big wine fan and if i want wine by the glass, the $5 glasses at the happy hour spots are just fine for me. the reason why i was thinking wine bars was just because i thought it would be a good way for me to show my friend "hey, this is DC and the trendy places right now are wine bars." I am certainly not married to those. Also, I thought small plates because of, like i said earlier, easier to split the bill and i think small plates are cool because it can lend to a more relaxed situation and everyone can catch up and be cool rather than be nervous about their entree cooling off.

          2. I was at Cork last Thursday night. My two friends and I got there at 5:45 and had no problem getting 3 seats at the bar. Within the next half hour, it got extremely crowded and extremely loud. We were 3 girlfriends catching up, so this didn't bother us, but you may want to consider either arriving early or making a resveration (I assume they take them?)
            We each had 2 glasses of wine- I had a multepulciano, which ran about $10 a glass. My friends drank Prosecco, which I think was around $8 a glass. We each really enoyed our wines (great selection, btw. and good notes for every wine, so if you don't know what to order, you get instant help)
            For food, I sampled 3 cheeses for $10. The plate came with plenty of bread to go around and a little snack mix. A friend got an eggplant (puree I think?) for around the same. We got the bar snack mix and bar olives (which were both great, but they charge 3 bucks a bowl for each fo them...bummer)
            BTW, Cork has small and large plates.