Prepare to be charmed by Santos Uy’s (Papilles) intimate Parisian-style wine bar turned bistro. Rich, midnight blue walls, pressed tin ceiling and bookended hardbacks alongside framed portraits on shelves set the homey atmosphere, as a friendly staff pour about 30 palate-friendly bottles of small production, natural wines mostly from France, Italy, Germany and Spain. The tiny DTLA space doubles as a retail shop, so if you really like a wine by the glass, take a bottle home or peruse the selection displayed on shelves in the front of the bar. If you're staying for dinner, there’s also a three-course pre-fixe option ($29) designed by chef Tim Carey, as well as classic French fare such as Ouefs en Cocette ($8) and hearty, hamhock stew.
Good for: A very low-key, unpretentious wine outing. This is the perfect place to unwind after work and to escape the not-so-charming atmosphere of nearby Skid Row. Bring a date or rendez-vous for post-work drinks during happy hour (Mon-Sat 6-8pm, Sun 6pm-midnight), when select glasses of wine and food items are just $5 and beers are a dollar cheaper.
The scene: Exemplified by the cool, composed staff who maintain a low-key presence, the general vibe is quite relaxed with a tame atmosphere that lends itself to a good date spot. Couples pair up on comfy bar stools—there are only 18 seats—around the central dark wood bar or at café tables in the front.
The playlist: An undercurrent of classical music—an entire Schubert symphony provided the score the night we were there—makes for good conversation and helps further the romantic notion.
The bartender says: The "chandeliers" prompt a double take—the decorative light fixture is made of coat hangars.
Drink this: If you’re a Riesling fan, there’s a gem on the list for just $10 a glass—1994 Schloss Schönborn Prädikatswein Kabinett is a full-bodied white that boasts a deep golden color, pleasant citrus aromatics and high acidity. Whether white or red, the wines by the glass selection rotates constantly. If you’re not feeling the spirit of wine, seven international beers are available by the bottle.