Look for the pink neon beneath Metro’s Chinatown stop and you’ll find one of the city’s chicest wine bars. The latest from Bar Covell and Augustine owner Dustin Lancaster, Oriel not only brings French wines and a modern, hanging-plant haven to the neighborhood—it also offers some of the best French bistro fare on the Eastside. The French onion soup—rich without overt decadence—is worth a visit alone.
Staff could use a bit more training (any server at a wine bar should be aware of natural wine and whether it’s offered), but the neon’s rose-hued glow, coupled with the romance of that well-rounded wine selection—especially those available by the bottle—makes it easy to fall in love with Oriel.
The scene: People-watch couples making eyes over their candlelit table; stylish parents earlier in the afternoon with their well-behaved kids in designer tyke overalls; and solo diners with book in tow just here for a glass of wine and some marinated olives. Almost everyone here's got great taste in something—they're here, aren't they?
Good for: It's hard to deny that this is one of Chinatown's best date-night picks, top catch-up-with-a-friend bars and a real gem of a destination for parents visiting from out of town. The setting's casual, relaxed and oh so cool, and filled with soft pink light that's flattering for absolutely everyone. Large parties, beware: The tight space makes this a better bar for small gatherings.
Drink this: Wines are more exciting by the bottle here, so team up with a friend or two for that $108 2011 Pierre Morey Monthelie, or opt for their reasonable but limited selection by the glass, landing around $14 apiece.
Our tip: For more privacy, opt for a table on the small patio removed from the main (and really, only) dining room, then watch the Metro trains go by overhead.
1135 N Alameda St
|Opening hours:||Sun-Thu 5pm-midnight; Fri & Sat 5pm-2am|
|Do you own this business?|