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New to Silverlake / Echo Park, the Good the Bad and the Ugly

cls Sep 6, 2008 04:12 PM

Last night and this morning I had a chance to try two new local places. This morning we tried Local, which has been mentioned before. The menu sounded good, the plates looked nice, the service was friendly, the space was, well, budget, but not bad. The proximity to a fast moving part of Sunset was a bit much but livable. The food was good however, my food was under seasoned beans, and a bit sickly sweet and sour chorizo, while my wife's sausage was pretty salty. Although I liked the place and appreciate the effort it took to open a new conscientious venture, I had to wonder why I was paying $13 for a quesadilla and $3 for a cup of coffee.

Last night while driving by, I noticed City Sip was open. I have been passing it for a long time now and have been intrigued by their brilliant logo, so was excited to check it out. Herein lies the ugly. What were they thinking? One long blank wall, a large storefront window so every family loaded with laundry from the apparently next door laundry mat stops and stares, and a big red shiny Corian counter. It's not fair to rate the service on their soft opening but, the two different flights we ordered, were two out of three undrinkable. I hope they get better with a little time, but the space will remain the antithesis of a cozy wine bar in my mind.

  1. lotta_cox Sep 7, 2008 11:03 AM

    that is disappointing, about City Sip. There is stiff competition not too far away, so they are going to have to elevate their game.

    7 Replies
    1. re: lotta_cox
      cls Sep 7, 2008 08:50 PM

      I have had a couple decent experiences at Sgt. Recruiter but don't know of any stiff competition. Where am I missing?

      1. re: cls
        Chowpatty Sep 7, 2008 09:23 PM

        Silver Lake Wine, Palate, Vinoteca Farfalla, 55 Degrees in Atwater, soon another wine shop/tasting bar on Hillhurst and Barbrix on Hyperion, not to mention Downtown. But nothing right in Echo Park, if that's what you meant.

        1. re: Chowpatty
          cls Sep 8, 2008 06:36 AM

          No, actually, I forgot Palate although I would consider it a bit far. Silverlake Wine to me isn't direct competition because it's just a couple of tastings a week in a wine shop rather than a wine bar, same for 55 degrees (didn't know they had tastings however.)

          1. re: Chowpatty
            lotta_cox Sep 8, 2008 06:48 PM

            all of which you have mentioned AND Colorado wine in Eagle Rock. And I certainly consider Palate close enough competition, far enough south down Brand it is practically Atwater.

            1. re: lotta_cox
              cls Sep 8, 2008 06:59 PM

              Well then, I have to check out Palate. I wanted to go Friday but it was impossible to get a seat, perhaps the wine bar is better. The wine tastings just aren't the same to me though. I am pretty sure if I pulled up a seat evening time and wanted to stay until 12 or so for a few leisurely glasses of wine I would be kicked out. That's the distinction to me. I am not a big fan of tasting however.

              1. re: cls
                fooddude37 Sep 8, 2008 09:09 PM

                I just made a reservation at Palate for 7 with less than a week's notice for a Thursday. I've also walked in right after opening and had the entire bar to myself, though it was packed by the time I left. It doesn't strike me as the kind of place that would kick you out simply because you were enjoying a leisurely pace; this isn't the westside. Order something other than water and tip well and that's about all the bar etiquette you should need.

                1. re: fooddude37
                  cls Sep 9, 2008 06:24 AM

                  I know Palate wont kick me out (most likely,) that was in reference to Silverlake Wine or 55 Degrees.

      2. b
        bacchusdude Sep 8, 2008 06:02 PM

        I checked out City Sip this past weekend after watching them build out for months. They were quick to mention that this was their soft opening and that they were working off of a short wine list as they are building their inventory. I thought the wines they had were unique and you can't beat the prices by the glass. There is no where in the neighborhood that you could get a great glass of wine for $8. I guess this is their "wine for the people" motto. Moreover, I liked the taste before you buy service. The mural in the back is awesome and the artist is local from Echo Park. Get up close and personal to see the level of detail....pretty insane! This is a great addition to the neighborhood - much needed. The food was good, too!

        1. bobbyscrack Sep 8, 2008 08:50 PM

          I was waiting for City Sip to open too. I had a bit of a different experience. I was really happy at City Sip. The wine was great, loved the Tempranillo. I can now walk to get a cheese plate with gooey Epoisse in Echo Park. The crowd was local, low key Echo Park neighbors. The décor was kinda cool. Not a plastic Corian bar top but recycled glass. Besides the crazy mural in the back, “the long blank wall” has cubby holes with wine bottles in them plus another mural. I’m only disappointed with the first reviewer, if I had listened to him I might not have walked in, fortunately I went in on my own.

          1 Reply
          1. re: bobbyscrack
            cbeanshop Sep 9, 2008 10:10 PM

            I had a different experience as well. My fiance and I brought a friend from work and enjoyed a really great glass of Syrah as well as a terrific cheese plate. The staff was very knowledgeable about the cheese and was able to make accurate wine descriptions. We loved it. The best part is we can walk there. I really don't know of any where else that can beat that (for us at least)!

          2. n
            ns1 Oct 31, 2008 12:52 PM

            anybody else on city sip la?

            1 Reply
            1. re: ns1
              hungryhyena Nov 7, 2008 06:18 PM

              Have now been to city sip 2x. The first time for wine/cheese/charcuterie and the second time to just sit with friends who were there. The staff is super friendly and the crowd is local. The lighting is just low enough that you don't really pay attention to the surroundings, other than to realize you are sitting amongst your neighbors sipping wine and no one is rushing you. The cheese selection was great and we tried a few nice wines as well. Both times it has been crowded but not uncomfortably so. I like it, and to echo what others have said "I can walk there."

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