This California-inspired wine bar, which doubles as a retail shop and art gallery, provides an escape from the nearby Galleria. Midnight blue walls showcase impressive contemporary art for a pretty penny, but if you're taking a break from shopping, there's a five-page global wine list: Northern and Central California options are aplenty and categorized by grape, while European wines are easily perused by country. Everything is available by the bottle—bottles to take home are half off the listed price—with wines by the glass ranging from $8 to $14. The food menu boasts snacks from salads and paninis to two of the most popular items: Pizza and the smoked salmon, a decent offering served alongside a baguette and a dollop of cream cheese, shallot, leek and caper-mixed sauce. Pull up one or two stools at the long granite-topped bar and stick around for the live music, which or may not help elevate the wine in your glass. A nearby parking garage offers free parking for 90 minutes, just enough time to grab a flight and some light fare during happy hour (daily 5-8pm).
Good For: The draw here is the live music and karaoke nights; it can be great fun or a great pain, depending on the size of the crowd filling in the awkward space. The retail aspect of the wine bar is a great way to bargain shop and sample wines by the glass first.
The scene: Small groups burdened by shopping bags from the Americana across the street hunker down for a seat in the late afternoon to early evening. After 8pm, the live music kicks in and the clientele is less focused on wine.
The playlist: Tuesday through Sunday after 8pm, live music pouring forth from an upstairs alcove ranges in styles from classic rock to blues and jazz.
The bartender says: Order the flatbread pizza and ask to substitute the prosciutto for the jalapeño grilled sausage—and pair with a red wine flight for $15. It’s a killer combo.
Drink this: If you’re leaning white, check out the "Eclectic" list and try the Grenache Blanc from Paso Robles' Clavo Cellars in Paso Robles ($10)—elegant, crisp, aromatic whites. If red is your poison, stick to structured, tannic, ripe fruit wines like the Old Vine Zinfandel from Lodi ($14) or the Round Pond Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($15). There’s also a full bar and a cocktail list. Wine flights ($15) include three generous 4-ounce pours, but can be hit or miss because the options change daily and depend on wines opened the previous night (if you’d prefer, don’t be afraid to ask for a fresh bottle). There's a hefty beer list as well, with brews that range from a boozy La Fin du Monde to a classic Blue Moon.
|Venue name:||Left Coast Wine Bar|
117 E Harvard St
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sun 4pm-midnight|
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