Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Wine Bar I'm Looking For

From today's NY Time Dining article describing NYC's new restaurants this season:

BUSSACO Scott Carney, a master sommelier who has managed Gotham Bar & Grill, the Tonic and many other places, is opening this new wine bar, with a first growth not just in the bottle, but also in the oak of a communal table made from a tree that came down in Prospect Park. The American food will be by the chef Matthew Schaefer. 833 Union Street, (Seventh Avenue), Park Slope, Brooklyn, (718) 857-8828. Sept. 26.

There's a wine bar opening in my neighborhood. Hard to put my finger on exactly why, but this place sounds like a nightmare. Is it just a (bad) pun, or will this place be about big-shot Bordeaux and fancy decor? Will there be anything good to drink on this list? I'm betting on big Cabernet and expensive grilled prawns with lemongrass coconut foam.

From what I can tell, in NYC we often create wine bars the way we create movies in Hollywood: loads of special effects and flash, short on substance. Why can't someone open a wine bar that offers excellent and inexpensive wine in a pleasant atmosphere with some simple but good food? A place that can please everyone - young cool-cats out on a date, a group of friends hanging out together, parents looking to enjoy a glass and a simple meal in the neighborhood on babysitter night, a pair of wine-geeks, and a solo drinker with a newspaper? Do those places exist only in Paris?

I wish there were a place nearby where I could go on a Wednesday night and get an $8 glass of good Beaujolais, some sausages, bread, and salad. Is that too much to ask? And that place, my friends, would not require the pedigree of Master Sommelier or Gotham Bar & Grill. Not that there's anything wrong with those things. It's just that the place I want wouldn't need them.

I wish I could open this wine bar. Anyone have $300 grand? I'm telling you - it would be a hit in its friendly, delicious, and hugely satisfying simplicity.

19 comments:

Asher said...

I think that Il Posto Accanto on E. 2nd Street in the East Village fits the bill, although it's an all-Italian wine list. It's next door to Il Bagatto, the excellent Italian restaurant.

Jason said...

There has been no replacement for our beloved 360 but you can try The Ten Bells on the LES. You can try the website, http://www.thetenbells.com/, but you are better off with a Google search to get a better feel for the place. The wine is excellent, the food is excellent, but it is not within walking distance for me or you.

Mike Drapkin said...

Right on brooklynguy!! Couldn't agree with you more. My hood needs something like that! I assume since an MS is involved in the project, it will be a lot of showy wines, pretentiousness and very little substance.

How about a wine bar which only serves oysters,bread,olives, and various cured meats ..??

Blumpo said...

Not sure if you've heard about it yet, but apparently the Prospect Wine folks are opening up a place across the street from their store: http://www.gowanuslounge.com/2008/09/02/brooklyn-nibbles-seventh-ave-wine-bar-opening-in-october/

I would guess this would be closer to your hopes, though until a thoughtful wine list inspires a crowd that a good beer list does, we may be outta luck.

Brooklynguy said...

thanks for the tips asher and jason (and i couldn't agree more about 360). i'll check them out online.

mike-we're in the same hood, so you and me both need a good place.

blumpo - good point on the eer thing. and i have heard about the other new slope place you;re referring to. but it's being done by the Big Nose Full Body people, not Prospect. Prospect is one of the better stores in Brooklyn, I think. If Amy and her wine buying partner whose name I cannot remember right now were to open a bar,I bet it would be great.Big Nose has a crappy selection at high prices. I imagine their wine bar will be much the same. i hope i'm wrong.

Blumpo said...

That's what I get for not consulting a map. Totally agreed on Big Nose, Full Body. Love their sign though.

spume said...

Brooklynguy, when you come to SF I'll take you to Terroir. That's a real wine bar...

- wolfgang

Brian said...

I spend way too much time and money at Terroir. I agree.

(God...Clos Roche Blanche Sauvgnon for $15. explain to me again why people spend $600 for Screagle?)

SBerko9118 said...

I live and work in the Bronx and I wish we had just one wine bar. We barely have any wine shops and certainly none that I know of with knowledgeable salespeople.

Brooklynguy said...

I'd LOVE to go to Terroir, that's exactly the kind of place I'm talking about, minus the dogma. Welcome to the site Wolfgang - nice to see you around these parts. Brian, that's the price for the bottle? if you drink it on site???

bronx is still getting there, i know what you mean. PJ's is pretty close though, although it's technically in Manhattan.

peter said...

Scott is a friend of mine, and I suspect that the place will not be as trendy or twee as you fear; his first love is Burgundy, followed closely by Barolo, and he has excellent taste. I was going to propose it as a possible meeting spot.

Brooklynguy said...

hey there peter - first of all, i'd be so psyched to meet you for a glass next time you're in town. regarding this new place, sorry if i am skeptical about your friend's place (not your friend, his place), but your comment kind of reinforces it. how can a wine bar focus on burgundy and barolo and be affordable for fellas like me? i hope you're right though - i'd love it if there were a good place in the neighborhood.

Vinotas said...

There are a few bars like that in the East Village, as Asher pointed out. Try Pata Negra, Bar Veloce, or Solex (they have wines from the Jura!), for example. I've heard mixed reviews of Terroir, however.

In my neighborhood it's frightful, the "wine bars" are fancied-up versions of the old frat-bars that once polluted the area. You'd think it would be relatively easy...
Cheers!

David McDuff said...

Come to Philly and you'll think you have it made, my friend. The oldest, most established place in town has it all wrong -- nothing but a big selection. Most of the new places are really cocktail lounges masquerading as wine bars.

The only place in town that has the spirit right happens to be a place I work with from time to time. Their approach is not too far off from what Mike suggests: beer, wine and cheese is the focus, though they do offer some panini, salads and small plates. If only the wine list were a bit more exciting, it could be a really great spot.

Cliff said...

Terroir is pretty good, but it is quite the scene. Certainly not a great hangout if you want to read the paper!

My neighborhood will never, ever get this kind of place (sigh).

Steve L. said...

I only know my local market, and for me that means TerroirSF. It's easy for wine geeks to meet online, but to keep a business going there has to be a critical mass of such people and there's the rub. Sitting at Terroir's bar I see many, many people taste four or five wines that I think are terrific before they "settle" for ordering the one they seem to find least offensive (of course there are others who have the scales fall from their eyes upon enjoying real wine for perhaps the first time). I would think a city that can sustain Chambers St. would have a ready audience, but I'm not sure I'd bet my own $300k on it. (And alas, that $15 wine Brian mentioned is out the door, not served on the premises.)

Anonymous said...

Not in park slope, but both JakeWalk and Black Mountain Wine House in Carroll Gardens seem to fit the bill of what you're looking for. Interesting, well priced wines, casual atmosphere, good nibbles.

JBH said...

Have you Park Slope dudes been to Total Wine Bar on 5th Ave? OK food, some nice cheeses, and a small, interesting lineup of wines. I didn't even know German Rose existed before going there.

I do think the neighborhood (every neighborhood, for that matter)could use a place like the one Brooklynguy describes. Count me in as an investor when the time comes :)

Brooklynguy said...

Black Mountain has been great and also not so great. I went a lot over the winter and wrote about it back then.

Steve - pretty odd, since the place is specifically a "real" wine bar. I guess it's good that those folks are going in and tasting, in any case.

i'm still not sure how i feel about total wine bar. I liked it the first time i went about 3 years ago, and have been disappointed since then. i should go back for another look.