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Wine Bars

Have a guest visiting from Asia who loves wines but is very limited to what he's exposed to back home. I would like to take him to a wine bar and introduce him to the vast selection of great Californian wines. What's are some good wine bars with large selections to taste? If they serve small tastings instead of having to order a full glass, even better.

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  1. Bottlerock in downtown near staples.
    a new wine bar opened up La Brea and 3rd street. forget the name though.....anyone?

    1. There are lots of wine bars through out the city. While some are better than others, I can't really think of one that is really a standout that I'd recommend driving to regardless of where you live.

      I'd also think that you would probably be better off taking your guest to an in-store wine tasting. Monitor the tasting events at good wine stores like K&L in Hollywood or Wally's Wine in Westwood. It's a better deal because you get to taste more wines for a reasonable price and also have a better chance at getting to taste one of the more expensive wines that often aren't available by the glass in a restaurant or wine bar.

      I know for example that K&L is sponsoring a wine tasting at Campanile in mid January where they will be pouring approximately 30 domestic wines for $25/person. I'd assume it will be mostly California but with some Oregon and Washington wines also.

      3 Replies
      1. re: bg90027

        I thought of that option but he's not here for much longer.

        1. re: TailbackU

          Oh...I couldn't tell by your original post that he was already here visiting. In that case, Bottlerock was probably a good recommendation. 800 bottle selection and they'll open any bottle if you'll order at least 2 glasses of it.

          1. re: bg90027

            Thanks. I think that's a good rec too. I was thinking Bodega as an option as well but their wines by the glass menu is not that interesting.

            If Bottlerock gets boring, we can always walk over to Corkbar as well.

      2. 3Twenty Wine Lounge on La Brea is a terrific place. They have those machines....so you can taste lots of different things. You just insert a plastic/credit type card (that they give you) into the machine and push a button. You get a pour of whatever you choose. Probably 30 choices. And wines by the glass and bottle. Very good food, too. And the owner, Edgar, is very knowledgeable and will offer advice and info. It's my new favorite place! Just celebrated my birthday there last night....

        1. Happily, there are so many good wine tasting options in this town, you can choose by location.

          If West LA/Santa Monica - the wine house. wallys. If Culver City - bottle rock. Downtown (bottlerock/corkbar) is already listed and I'd say if it's a Sunday - Silverlake Wine, on the semi-eastside, rocks. I also like the friday night tastings at Colorado Wine Co., but they are in Eagle Rock, so you do need to be in the neighborhood. Happy drinking!

          1. There are definitely a slew of spots to go to, and sad to say I haven't made it yet to many which have opened in the past year. I don't love the places with machines, though. While you definitely can get those tiny pours, I like the personal side of the experience where you can talk to someone about the vino you're about to taste, and after you've tasted it, without messing with a card. Most good bars will let you have a taste of anything they have open before you commit to a glass, anyway. Here are a few:

            Bottlerock - Downtown and CC - very good in that they'll open any wine they have in the shop as long as you commit to 2 glasses. And you can get single glasses from any bottle they've opened already. Good selection, OK pricing. Great range to high end, too.

            Corkbar - Downtown - they only offer CA wines, so this is a good place to focus on that. Good food, nice people, very friendly and an easy hang. Pricing also OK.

            Vinoteque - Melrose - great list, both world and CA, and great pricing. You can do very well buying by the bottle here, which is easy if you get a group together, or just drink a lot. Good range, affordable to high end.

            Lou - Hollywood - great spot all around, and good food, but probably more world than CA. Selections here are generally NOT pricey or high end, always good value. And definitely off the main path. If you were to go to 2 bars, you should include this one for sure. If you go to one and want a lot of CA, this is probably not the place, I'd say.

            5 Replies
            1. re: CulverJack

              Another one in Hollywood is Covell, but it, like Lou, is more worldly than CA.
              Hollywood Blvd. across from Umami Burger, near Hillhurst.

              1. re: carter

                If you end up going here, there's another wine bar maybe a 1/2 mile away on Hillhurst - Vinoteca Farfalla that would be worth a stop.

              2. re: CulverJack

                I understand what you're saying, and some people just don't like machines. I respect that. But what makes 3Twenty different is that you get both the conversation....and the pour from the wine. Edgar is constantly circling, talking and discussing the wines. I mean....he'll leave you alone if you prefer that. But he is there for consult. So for me, it's the best of both worlds. I think wine bars and tastings at stores are very different. Though Wine House does an excellent job of combining the two. And I agree about Lou...a terrific place.

                1. re: perk

                  Cool, thanks perk, I like it. I do need to get to some of the newer places and see what's what. I owe it to myself ( :-) )

                  1. re: CulverJack

                    I'd be interested to know what you think after you try it. I really do think it's a special place.
                    I've taken a lot of people there....and Edgar remembers them all when they come back.
                    He also remembers my favorite wines...and tries to make sure he has them on hand when I'm there. When you go....tell him Elaine sent you! You do owe it to yourself....smile....