There are really fun aspects to opening a wine bar, and one of them is visiting other wine bars to see how they do it. I learn so much just by walking into a place and having the imbibing experience. Two places I went last night with my brother Luke were Veritas and Sonoma, both in DC.
Veritas is a small, cozy, true wine bar located on Florida Avenue in the Dupont/Logan Circle area. The atmosphere is dark, sleek and sexy offset by a "rustic" brick wall that looked relatively new. The bar curves around nicely, and the clientèle looked to be professional 20 and 30 somethings. They have an extensive by the glass list, and a menu of flights which I loved. The wines are thoughtfully selected, and we found an unexpected treasure, a California Mourvedre by Jade Mountain. At $7 we found a serious bargain, and that brings me to price. The prices are high, and it could be I had Fredericksburg to DC sticker shock, then again they just might high. Overall it was a pleasant experience and I would certainly return.
Sonoma is really more of a restaurant with an excellent wine list. This place is located on Capitol Hill, my childhood home, and the space is really beautiful. The owners did an amazing job with the look and feel of the place. The menu focuses on local and sustainable foods (right up my alley) and the food is flat out delicious.
I had the beet salad ($10) pictured to the left, and it was so delicious I wanted to lick the plate clean. The whole meal and dining experience was great, but that was just it, it was a dining experience, not a wine experience. I would however, highly recommend the place as it was yumm-y.