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Jul 16, 2009 12:19 PM

13.5 wine bar in Hampden

Went to the new wine bar in Hampden the other night.
It's been less than a week since it opened (I believe it opened last Friday night), but there was a lively crowd inside for a Tuesday night. Nice vibe and feel to the place, don't know if they're still working on the interior, but it's a modern, yet minimal feel to the design - not too comfy, yet not too cold either, if that makes any sense.
We wanted to stop in and grab a glass of wine and just relax for a little before we called it a night, so we saddled up to the bar and looked over our options. Service was very friendly and professional, but the prices might need to be adjusted, especially for the neighborhood of Hampden. First thing: Beer prices are way too high. Natty boh for $3, that's insane. Clipper City draft for $6.50, come on now. Bottle of Heineken for $4.50. Wow! Not very pretty, and doesn't inspire one to stay and down a couple.
Now, for wines by the glass: nothing really captured us for wine by the glass, especially for the price.
So, we settled for liquor. My wife got a boutique bourbon on the rocks from New York (Hudson whiskey, not sure of the name) that cost $16.50. Wow! This is Hampden, right? This isn't Dupont Circle, this isn't the Upper East side. Is my surprise unfounded, is this how much this bourbon cost everywhere?
Anyway, like I said, not to conducive for staying and drinking.
Checked out the menu, but didn't order any food, so I can't comment. Seemed like mostly just lite fare: cheese plates, salads, and such.
Might give them some time to settle in and adjust until I go back. They've only been open for a week, so maybe they're still getting their act together.
Does anyone else have any feedback yet?

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  1. Not a promising sign when a review of a wine bar tells nothing about the wine bar's wine.

    As for the beer prices, they don't strike me as outrageous. This wine bar might be in Hampden, but it's clearly not a Hampden wine bar, because there could never be a Hampden wine bar any more than there could be a Hampden sushi bar.

    I think you need to go back and forget that you're in Hampden, then try to enjoy the place.

    1. The beer prices are pretty steep for the area. But the Hudson bourbon is damned expensive -- it retails for around $45.00 for a half bottle (375 ml). The $16.50 is high but doesn't seem that outrageous when you consider what it costs them.

      4 Replies
      1. re: JonParker

        mmmm, bourbon!
        They may have to lower their beer prices, thats what Woodberry Kitchen did, they were charging $8.50 for a Marz-Hon draft. Pretty insane.

          1. re: hon

            I looked at that earlier and found it completely useless. No wine list, no beer list, and no cocktail menu even though they're all linked there.

            1. re: JonParker

              I know, it's totally useless except for the food menu.

      2. We were there Saturday after they opened, only their 2nd day. Wine prices ranged from $7 dollars a glass and up, with most around 8-10 range. We had a couple of glasses -- a Tavel rose, a Chilean malbec and Languedoc that I can't remember. Snacks of roasted chickpeas and favas were in glasses on the bar.

        The menu has a selection of small plates and panini, the sandwiches seeming to be reasonably priced. Due to a kitchen error we had a plate of their spiced shrimp on the house. Error was that it was mistaken order for someone else, so they asked us if we would like it. I couldn't say no. The shrimp were large but only three of them. They were flavorful but not spicy and came with rice topped with lemon zest -- a little simple but not bad. Their desserts are made by the same source as Puff's and Pastries and the Mandarin Oriental, if I understood right.

        Wine can be bought retail by the bottle off the wall. If you open it there, there's an $8 markup. They can sell for offsite on Sundays.

        The wines were a little pricey but not outrageous and were quite good.

        It's not usual that they have no wine list posted on their site. The impression I had was that it was going to be subject to change, as is often the case at wine bars.

        We enjoyed it and are happy to have a new option in the neighborhood. Sure it's not as cheap as Fraser's down the street, but it's a much more pleasant space.

        1 Reply
        1. re: zebcook

          On Sundays starting in September The Wine Source will be open 7 days a week, yay!

        2. Ate at 13.5 last evening (8/21/09). If I went again I'd skip the food and just drink wine. We ordered from their selection of small plates. The food was barely warm when it arrived and the beef dish we ordered tasted fine, but it was cold and gray. No lie, pale gray and cooked well. It was beautifully presented with a cherry sauce and arugula salad, but the meat was overcooked and sat around. And it still came out before our drink order! We ordered two $9 cocktails off the menu and it took over 20 minutes to receive them. When the server brought them she offered no apology. Guess we should have ordered wine.

          The decor was lovely and the wine by the bottle concept, where you choose off the wall and they only charge a corking fee is certainly cheaper then a traditional bottle at a restaurant, but the kitchen needs to work on the details. My meal was mediocre.

          13.5 doesn't hold a candle to Woodberry Kitchen.

          2 Replies
          1. re: jleigh

            It doesnt hold a candle to Per Se either Im sure, but is that a reasonable comparison? Seems like to very different concepts (though I agree with your post besides the last sentence)

            1. re: jleigh

              I suppose it bears mentioning that there is no kitchen in the traditional sense. Just a prep area with a panini maker. Things like tenderloin are pre-prepared off-site. Probably packed up too warm and cooked through in transit.