Opinions on Vin Room (CGY)
I haven't yet been. How is food/ambiance/service?
2310-4th St SW, Calgary, AB T2S 1X2, CA
i liked it a lot when I visited. We had great service, and I really like the room(s). sophisticated, but also cozy and warm. The wines were excellent. They have so many by the glass it's dizzying. We sampled quite a bit of food, and I remember liking most of it -- the eggplant chips are definitely finding their way through my wine-hampered memory, but I'm afraid the rest is a bit of a blur. i say go :)
I've been a couple times and it was great - if the weather ever co-operates the roof patio is lovely
Went to a private event downstairs - food was great and service was amazing. We had a variety of appy's and lots of wine. The servers made sure the wine was constantly refilled and always came to check on us.
Great wine list by the glass. They have a system that the bottles pour a consistent amount, keeps the wine from oxidizing, correct temperature and a wide selection. Upstairs is funky. A year ago I went there for lunch and walked away hungry. Perhaps this has changed. Portion sizes were on the light side.
I went around the time they first opened and was initially disappointed. I have since gone back to give it a couple more tries and had awful experiences each time. Not worth it!
In the beginning, I wanted to compare Vin Room to some of the other new bar/lounges around town and was intrigued at the new "wine bar" development in Calgary after seeing successes in other cities. Vin has pretty dim lighting, not romantic, just dim -- along the lines of Raw Bar in Hotel Arts or Charcut along 9th. The bar itself is very clean, but beyond that the decor is a kind of cheap "boudoir" style. This is just my opinion as some people may have liked the style, but I did not find it cozy at all -- the leather booths I sat in were stiff and uncomfortable, so much so that when I first went, I switched with my dining partner and was met instead with a stiff, uncomfortable car-fabric-upholstery chair. Oh well.
I've tried other tables since and have written it off as part of the "Euro Modern Ugly" trend of uncomfortable, flashy seating. I'm not usually a stickler for decor. I am okay paying extra wine markup on mediocre, cheap wine in great, comfortable lounge spaces or paying extra markup for great wine in uncomfortable, ill-designed places -- but paying a lot of money for bad wine AND uncomfortable decor is not a deal!!!! I wish Vin Room was a little something-different, but after enough poor experiences there, I would not go back and would not recommend.
As for the food -- decent every time, but not outstanding. I would want to try the rest of the menu had it not been for everything else. The eggplant chips are a great idea, shephard's pie was savory and tasty, and though charcuterie selection and prices could be a lot better, the horseradish mustard was very good.
But the wine... the wine director here has ruined it for me! The first time I went, we took suggestions from the sommelier and she gave us some **REALLY OFF** wine. Luckily we only ordered the tasters (2oz = $5) but it was so bad we each ended up just getting glasses of "safe" cheap wine. My partner and I each ordered a glass of cab, which we thought was a good idea but was just mediocre. My partner ordered one last glass (shiraz) in hopes of some possibility of a good wine experience, but no. The shiraz was cheap and tasted very stale. In total, the entire liquid expense (3 glasses, 2 tasters) was over $65. Expensive, and not a good experience.
The second time I went was after dinner with a friend. They were out of a wine I wanted, so after some reluctance I took another suggestion from the sommelier AGAIN and it was very bad. She seemed upset I did not like her suggestion, and again I ended up ordering a "safe" mediocre wine, which I have had before at Una Pizza for half the price. I didn't think it was out of line to ask for a different glass, but it seemed very unprofessional that the sommelier acted the way she did. Even my friend remarked how service to our table changed after I asked for a different wine.
After that experience, I did not want to go back but a few months later my boss chose Vin Room for a meeting. We met with some American clients, one of whom is a wine buyer, and they were very disappointed with the two bottle suggestions from sommelier. The wine buyer remarked that the menu had a lot of interesting or reputable brands but seemed to choose "bad years" where the wine from this brand was cheapest. That is out of my range of wine understanding, but it was pretty obvious how the servers had to push wine sales with our table of businessmen, and it made for an obnoxious experience.
It's too bad because Calgary could really use a great tiny wine bar. However, each time I visited, the sommelier / wine ruined my experience instead of enhancing it.
I would recommend someplace like Alloy (where there is a great wine selection but is more upscale) or Milk Tiger (smaller menu but great prices and value) ANYDAY over Vin Room.
Milk Tiger Lounge
1410 4 St SW, Calgary, AB T2R, CA
220 42 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 1Y4, CA