By Emily Van Zandt
11:39 AM CST, February 23, 2012
Rating: !! 1/2 (out of four) Take it or leave it
The scene: This small but sleek wine bar features a handful of tables in its well-lit front half, with more seating available along the bar and a wall ledge toward the back. On a Monday night just a few weeks after opening, the bar was surprisingly buzzing around 9 p.m., with tables of 20-somethings and older couples sharing a bite to eat and lingering over rounds of wine. Big TVs behind the bar and unintimidating staff members eager to offer suggestions defy the stuffy wine-bar stereotype.
The food: There are plenty of snacks (think oysters, chorizo-stuffed dates or a flight of grilled cheese sandwiches) plus sharable pizzas and salads, but my friends and I were left underwhelmed. The monkey bread ($7 and described on the menu as as biscuits, basil, asiago, smoked tomato with chive butter) came mostly cold and overloaded with a thick, smoky flavor from the tomato.
The drinks: With more than 200 options, the wine list is suprisingly easy to navigate, and glasses of red and white go for $8-$15 apiece. For the best value, go for one of the flights which, for $13-$19, offer three hearty pours of complementary sips. It’s an easy way to find a new favorite.
The trip: Located near the corner of North and Wells, Flight 1551 is a short walk from the Sedgwick Brown/Purple line stop or the North Avenue bus. It could definitely be a destination for wine lovers looking for a few inexpensive glasses.
Bottom line: It’s a yes to accessible, affordable vino, though next time I’d go for a snack, not a meal.
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