We have always had a soft spot for the Vinoteca. And that has nothing to do with the fact that we were the very first two customers ever to step through the door after the place opened (which is a whole story all on its own anyway).
Vinoteca offers a wide selection of wine plus a few carefully selected beers on tap, an interesting menu of Italian and Brazilian food and most importantly – a wonderful atmosphere. The place is what we had been missing in our little quarter of L.A., a wine bar where one can wander in and feel at home. We celebrated birthdays there, met with friends, saw in the odd New Year or two, we basically went there for months on end every Friday evening after the place opened. We even watched the opening game of the last Soccer World Championship there, by courtesy of the manager, who invited us over to watch the game on the big screen over breakfast.
Then the inevitable happened – word got around, the place was written up by the local papers and Vinoteca took off in quite a big way. We were very happy for the owner that his bar had become a success. We, however, had to let go of our Friday evenings there, it became a bit too crowded and too loud for our taste on weekends.
But on any other day it is still delightful in the way we like it. Good wine, good food, interesting guests, very friendly staff. We just know that it will be a pleasant hour or two – just by wandering in, sitting down at the bar, chatting with our favorite bartenders, having something nice to drink and to eat.
That’s how it was even yesterday, when we had simply forgotten that it was Valentine’s Day. And yes, the place was crowded, and yes, we wanted to leave, and no, they would not let us go. They found a nice spot for us. After a long and gruesome day, filled with lots and lots of work, it was a perfect evening.
That is heaven indeed.