Vancouver is well known for its craft beer scene, and all the bars that serve them in barrels, batches, growlers, pints and flights. There are more and more small breweries popping up every month, with more and more bars to offer them to you. So I was ecstatic to discover that our fair city now has a wine bar to cater to those who prefer grapes over hops; offering just as much variety in wine as your local bar would beer. Introducing “The Wine Bar” the literal name, that gets right to the point, as well as delivers on the promise of wine by the glass, as well as bottle.
And if that isn’t reason enough to visit them, they have recently launched their rosé program, making “Rosé all day” a reality, and not just a slogan reserved for graphic tees.
On this night I was invited to the #Rosé launch party, allowing thirsty guests the ability to sample their collection of pinks. They have more than 40 different rosé wines available by the glass, and even more options if you are willing to order by the bottle. This assembly even included a 4 litre bottle for over $1,500, which was quick to sell, at 25% off. Every Sunday, “TWB” invites guests down to their water side bar for 25% off any rosé (bottle or glass)
But tonight we were able to taste as many of the pinks as we could, whilst mingling with the vendors that represented and distributed the various labels. They too were enjoying the wines and the space, as they gave guests a little more in depth information on the brand they represented. Around the quick to fill room enthusiasts were seen swirling and swishing, trying with a spit. And there was myself, downing each taster like a champ, with my face turning a shade to match my quick to empty glass.
I wish I was able to be a bit more discerning of each sip that I took. But truth be told, I cannot recall the notes between sweet and/or dry, just that I enjoyed them all; and half the fun is try as many as you can. Hence the appeal of the wine bar in the first place, as it is what sets them apart from others. They allow you to try something new, or be more adventurous, without the commitment of a full bottle.
As we drank in deep, a rotation of handheld snacks kept me in check. A selection to showcase the kitchen’s ability in small bites, just as what is offered on their regular food menu. A menu that has similarities to their sister restaurant, “Provence Marinaside”, next door. The only difference is here, they have cultivated a more casual setting to spend your time at. Truly laid back and easy, like your favourite bar, but with wine and the air of sophistication it always brings.
Your option of seating includes cushy benches indoors, and a patio up front with a water side view. The latter was the perfect setting to people watch, and be seen at, behind a flower lined fence. But the actual place to be is right at the entrance, in front of the fully stocked wine bar. Bottles corked and left to chill, and taps with slender nozzles to admire. But on this occasion it became our standing bar, and the perfect platform to highlight their new French and American rosés; as well as a collection of pink sparkling.
For nibbles we enjoyed a self serve, auto replenishing platter of raw oysters on ice with caviar, because fresh oysters and wine seem like a natural conclusion.
Jumbo shrimp served chilled with a tangy dip. Self explanatory and always a crowd pleaser.
I liked the mildness of the juicy sausage, a sharp contrast to the soggy cheese and vegetable with quinoa on bread bite.
I much more prefer the perfectly round pastry puff topped with a veggie ratatouille-like zesty mix.
Although I had a great time, given the amount of attendees and the tone of the gathering, I wasn’t able to fully take-in or enjoy “The Wine Bar”; so decided to come back for a more “normal” night shortly after. Doing so with a friend who drinks wine like others drink water. Although sadly she must have been overwhelmed with all the options, as she decided that we should share a bottle of bubbles from Italy. This was the easy choice, instead of picking and choosing by the glass, visiting the world through its wine in the process. Guess that gives me the excuse to return once again.
Because “The Wine Bar” has over 200 different wines available by the glass, and over 400 by the bottle. 400 different wines to choose from, in a dining scene where no other restaurant or bar can boast the same.
During our stay we would nibble on their small plates, taking advantage of the Southern French fare that “Provence Marinaside” is known for. Naturally, the menu helped you pair the perfect glass to go with your dish of choice; but for us, our bottle was plenty.
First we had some garlic marinated “frog wings”, because: when in “Provence”. They were dressed in your choice of sea salt, Jim bean bourbon, or espelette Pepper. We went for just some salt to flavour and exemplify the garlic. With the simple dressing the flavour of the well seasoned wings came through lough and clear. The little, one-bite drums had the frog meat falling off its bone. You put the whole thing in your mouth and with a twist of our tongue you removed the meat. These were so great that I could have eaten a half dozen more.
Next we had some “crispy calamari” with lemon and a garlic aioli, for a similar crunch. Well breaded and chewy, but unmemorable when served along side the frog wings above.
We would start our meal and time in the small dining, waiting for a table to free up on the patio. When it did we moved our set up, and indulged in our next course of tapas plates with fresh air and a cool breeze.
Having drank to the point where you want carbs to balance yourself out internally, I immediately eyed the “Gnocchi du jour”. Today the chef’s creations was their house made gnocchi in a light cream sauce with morels and kale. They had the perfect texture and were the exact taste I was craving for at the time. Chewy and buttery, the mushrooms added some earthiness and depth, with the kale brightening up the plate with its change in texture.
Off the dessert menu, we also enjoyed their “Artisanal BC cheese plate” with gluten free crisps, olives, and fruit compotes. Wine with cheese just seems to fit best at a French style restaurant, and even better when it highlight’s BC’s dairy farmer’s contribution to the cheese game.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
As, I mentioned above there isn’t another place quite like this in Vancouver, and none with a view like they do. A great spot for those who enjoy wine and would like to get acquainted with an extensive list of wines from around the globe. Here you can try them by the tap, glass, or bottle at reasonable prices. They not only have the largest by-the-glass wine program in Vancouver, but in all of Western Canada as well! Come for 400 plus wines, but be sure to start with a visit on Sunday for 25% off bottles and glasses of rosé. “Each ready to drink by itself or pair well with our food menu.” – Josh, Wine Director at TWB. “Don’t deny your cravings” – Magmei