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DiVino -- a new Wine Bar on Vancouver's Commercial Drive

I've been watching this renovation for a while as I walk by this place daily on my way to work.

A new wine bar which will be operated by a long-standing Italian family (The Grippo family - based in the Commercial Drive area) is due to open the end of this month (June 30). They will be serving wine, cheese, salumi, and Italian small-plates. The new chef Hugh Carbery used to be sous-chef at Aurora Bistro under Jeff Van Geest....so you know the food will be good.

So now to avoid confusion, Western Canada Chowhounds will need to state which DiVino/Divino is which (Vancouver/Calgary) when making recommendations or writing reviews ;)

A great addition to my neighborhood.

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  1. Very cool -- I didn't know Hugh Carbery wasn't at Aurora any longer (he is related to my cousin). Exciting for him to be striking out on his own. Great to see the mentoring continue on down the line...

    I had read somewhere else it was going to be called Assagini -- I think maybe DiVino is more descriptive, and I like the bilingual pun.

    2 Replies
    1. re: grayelf

      The name Assaggio was considered, I believe....perhaps the first three letters didn't work well for the overall branding ;)

      >> Great to see the mentoring continue on down the line.

      Umberto Menghi to John Bishop to Jeff Van Geest to Hugh Carbery....

      1. re: fmed

        Ah, that must have been it. I thought it was Assagini because of the menu.

    2. I'm helping with the wine list!!

      It's going to be mostly Mediterreanian (sp) and BC

      Hugh rocks, looking forward to Staff meetings there as my office is practicaly right over them :)

      Wow I can't spell today...

      1 Reply
      1. re: starlady

        Looking forward to it starlady.

      2. Not too impressed with choice of wines and markups , almost 300% on a $7.50/bottle of almost plonkish Primula Nero D'Avola , yikes

        4 Replies
        1. re: knight

          Yikes indeed. They may smarten up over time.

          1. re: fmed

            I hope so!!

            Just so you know they didn't take all advice on the wine list, but hopefully that'll change

            1. re: starlady

              They are not making a good first impression (on the wine side of things) on people that I trust. I hope they turn this around really quickly. It's the kind of word-of-mouth a new restaurant does not want out of the gate.

              1. re: fmed

                Yup, they better pick it up right quick!!

        2. Went here a couple nights ago.

          Had three meats (all delicious). Service was great and room looks nice. The patio will be something I can see myself on a lot.

          The wines, on the other hand, were pretty/very weak and the markups high (very high on some as Knight has pointed out). The owner said that the wine list is going to grow dramatically in the next week with specs, etc... but, even still... this is a wine bar, to open with such a rough, bad thought out wine list IMO is a terrible idea.

          Soft opening with a not full wine list is fine, but there are MUCH better/interesting products at the BCLDB than what was on offer.

          I hope they work the wine program out because I'd love to have a nice hangout on the drive.

          9 Replies
          1. re: Cancuk

            The cheese and meats are great but the wine list is a complete waste. The mark-up is unacceptable and selection mediocre. They need more by the glass, flights, and better BC wines. Waazubee two doors away has over 40 by the glass, wine flights, a wine club, and wines for $6.95 on Wednedsays.

            1. re: foamyfood

              Stephen at Wazubee has done a wonderful job , good wines , good prices , a wine club , Wazubee is the only wine bar on the Drive right now

              1. re: knight

                Yep - totally agree. I was there last night. Had a series of flights - "ABC - Anything But Chardonnay", "Old World vs New World", "Pinot Noir". Very good list and a very inclusive approach ("no wine snobs") .

                I may finally join the wine club soon.

                1. re: knight

                  I mentioned to Stephen on another food thread that you said waazubee is a wine bar - he seemed happy that Waazubee is getting some wine drinking foodies. He still hoping the owner will spend some money on the place so he can take the wine program further. I still hope he opens his own wine bar in the near future - he dropped some hints of a wine bar or gourmet food store in the future.

                    1. re: foamyfood

                      I would LOVE if Stephen would do that. He has a great pallet and is very good at finding unknown/well priced wines.

                      1. re: Cancuk

                        I'd even go palate :) , but yes if Stephen ever decides to open his own wine bar I'll be a regular

                        1. re: knight

                          I hope it's on the Drive...so I can stagger home.

                    2. re: knight

                      Too bad Waazubee has the worst service and slowest service I've yet to experience in Vancouver. You leave out a huge demographic, wine drinking or not, when you can't deliver in those areas. I would NEVER waste my time there.

                2. Dropped by for a 2nd chance on Saturday afternoon. The whole drive was packed for pirde but there were only two customers; one who was a big biker dude drinking crap beer! Wine list is bigger and prices have been reduced but I think they lost the wine crowd with their mediocre opening. Service was better but the wines were still not turning by crank.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: foamyfood

                    Thanks for the update foamy. I too was there Saturday for a bit to check it out (finally). Charcuterie was very nice but they really do need to work on the wine list. The sign for Amore is still up and may cause confusion for some.

                  2. Gee, great first review! It's reviews like this that make me avoid a place like the plague!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ck1234

                      I've read elsewhere that there have been continuing problems, such as not being open regular hours eg closed on a Friday night (!) and that the wine selection is still not of the quality you might expect from a place called a wine bar. It's such a shame because it really seems like this place should fly...

                      1. re: grayelf

                        As someone who lives within walking distance -- I'm disappointed. Opening a new restaurant and calibrating it to the neighbourhood is a tough job. For some reason, DiVino just couldn't find its legs.

                    2. October 2008, Devino's is coming back together. The romeo is bleeding routine is up, wounds are healing and the order restored. Impecable management, a grappa selsction that celebrates the most potent form of the grape, and most of all the resonance, harmony of family. Sample the wine with some cheese and some meEts, let the host worry about everything else.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: demiandemian

                        This post is a bit cryptic. I know about some of the internal changes that happened recently. Can you report on the food demiandemian? What's happening in the back of the house?

                        1. re: fmed

                          Yeah, I'd like to know too. I understand Hugh Carbery left under less than happy circs, and the scuttlebutt has not been good generally.

                      2. It's no longer so new. Divino seems to have been around since the gelato store disappeared last summer. I'm not sure what happened to the best ice cream shop in Vancouver but regardless when Divino arrived on The Drive I was excited about a local wine bar. It promised to be a step above what we found in the neighbourhood until the last year or so.

                        Well, last Friday was my latest visit. I think it was my 5th time in the place since they opened. Oh how the promise was a false one!

                        This isn't a wine bar. It looks more like a cheap tavern that has turned into a hang out for every form of mobster in Vancouver. Perhaps its a reflection of the gang culture that is grabbing headlines in our local newspapers. Actually, the rounders hanging at DiVino are look less like street gangsers than the old Commercial Drive Italian cosanostra.

                        It looks like a family affair all right, but not the kind of family I want to hang out with. What happened to the nice woman and her kids who ran the ice cream shop in the same space?

                        Actually, I stopped in for an after-work glass of wine about a month ago and it actually looked like afterschool day at the daycare. There were two rounders swilling cheap draft beer at the bar and what looked like their two pre-school grandchildren climbing all over the bar trading barbs with the barman.

                        Wine-- let's get back to that. No, let's get started. The DiVino wine list is a huge disappointment. Nothing creative about it but that doesn't surprise me since not a single person I have run across among their constantly changing staff seemed to know a thing about wine.

                        The small menu had some interesting items on it but they all just seemed a bit too pricey each time I thought of going beyond the glass of wine. Maybe it is the atmosphere-- not really a comforting place.

                        The Drive needsa wine bar or two. DiVino isn't one. Bring back the ice cream store and let the mobsters hang out down the block.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: vanfoodone

                          isn't the ice cream place sign still up as well?if so nice touch

                          1. re: vanfoodone

                            Hmmm, the ice cream shop Gelateria Dolce Amore is right next door and I'm pretty sure that they don't have any draft beer, cheap or otherwise.
                            Would love to hear about some of the places in Vancouver that have wine selling for less (not that I think Divino is inexpensive) it's just most of the places that I go to seem to be even more pricey. I haven't tried the Waazubee for their wine, but their food has been less than impressive.
                            Divino now has a new manager and chef, unfortunately Drew left for Tapastree. We'll see what comes of it...