So, going to a wine bar by myself proved to not be as awkward as I was expecting. My first wine bar review was actually a relaxing way to unwind from the work day! I visited Vino Vino at 211 W Broadway in Tribeca on May 19.
First impressions were good. The exterior of Vino Vino is very cute - it's an old building and the interior is the perfect blend of modern and cozy that I like to see in wine bars. The lighting, tables and music have a very lounge type vibe and the cushioned benches along the wall are worn through in some areas of the fabric (in a good way). Cozy!
Once I arrived at the bar, I examined the large chalk menu on the wall and decided that I wanted to try a nice glass of Graves. The bartender informed me that they did not have any Graves available. Ok, that happens. Second try. "I'll have a Cabernet Franc then". They were out of that as well. The bartender handed me the "current" menu, so apparently the prominently displayed wall menu is not current. I took a seat at the bar and reviewed the menu he had handed to me and decided on a Cotes du Rhone. No more of that either?? I guess the third time isn't the charm. Finally, I hesitantly requested a glass of Chablis. Success! They had it. It was a 2006 Jean & Vincent Dauvissat from the Burgundy region of France. $19 a glass though? It was pricey, but deeeelicious and I was served a healthy pour.
The bar focuses heavily on French wines, with most of the selections being from Burgundy and the Rhone Valley. A few of the dessert wines are from Portugal and Italy. I'm a fan of French wines, so I liked that this bar had so many options to choose from. I also thought the wine glasses were cool; they had several different varieties to accomodate all types of wines. Nice touch.
The crowd that Vino Vino draws is the late 20s/early 30s sophisticated after work crowd. The bar wasn't crowded, so it was much more relaxing than your average weeknight happy hour venue.
Another downside is that the staff was a bit inattentive. They seemed to be short staffed though, with only one bartender and two or three bus boys, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and hope that they have more staff on the busy nights. The bartender seemed to be knowledgeable about wine, from what I overheard when he helped another customer with their wine selection.
There was a wine class going on in the wine store that was in the same room as Vino Vino, called Maslow 6. It looks really cool, but since it was only separated from the bar by a glass wall, I can't help but wonder if the people in the class felt a bit like a zoo exhibit. I asked the bartender about the class but he didn't provide much information about it aside from "it's not our class".
Overall, I did enjoy Vino Vino, but there is room for improvement in the area of wine availability, service, and the wines are a touch overpriced. Is it the area or the wine selection? More visits to Tribeca wine bars will tell :) I give Vino Vino a rating of 3.8 out of 5 glasses.
Chalk wall menu
My glass of Chablis
Zoo Wine class at Maslow 6