This guest blog post is by Rob Moshein.
Austin is fortunate to have a really amazing array of places to drink wine. Permit me to share three of my favorites.
The Red Room Lounge - 306 East 3rd St. Austin, TX 78701
The brainchild of Alex Andrawes of Personal Wine and Wines.com, and the hard work and talent of Third Level Advanced Sommelier Bill Elsey, The Red Room Lounge is the hottest, coolest thing to hit the Austin wine scene in years.
The basement of a century-old building has been turned into a clubby, comfy space with red walls, dark stained concrete floor, huge leather high backed chairs and Chesterfield sofas, and soft lighting. One large wall is covered with wood wine racks, while another wall is filled with modern art and collectible guitars.
A varied selection of wine by the glass is available, including very fine Grower/Producer Champagne for only $14 per glass. The truly beautiful part? The Red Room Lounge has a massive list of wines, at 500 plus labels, for take home or drink now! The list is beautifully chosen by Alex and Bill. It ranges from crisp, clean, minerally Cava for $20 a bottle, on up to the rock star level of First Growth Bordeaux, Grand Cru Burgundy and California Cult Classics. Some of these even I have seen, but never actually been in the presence of one opened. Yes, I’m talking about Screaming Eagle and the rest.
The vintages are not just “off years,” but rather the finest ones, including 1982 Bordeaux. The sheer size and depth of the list at Red Room will not only put any local restaurant to shame, but will please even the deepest pocket long time collector and the novice budget wine lover equally.
But the coolest thing? The pricing structure. The “take home” price is spot on reasonable retail. But you can add the unheard of up charge of only 15-20% to the retail and enjoy it there. Compare that to the restaurant standard up charge of three times retail!
The vibe is intentionally laid back. Their hours, for example: early afternoonish to midnight – 1 AM on Friday/Saturday. If the door is open, come on in and have a glass. That’s how they want it.
I love it. I finally have a good reason to be downtown more often. If you can’t find street parking, the valets for Max’s, Vince Young or Fogo will happily accept your business.
Trio at The Four Seasons - 98 San Jacinto Boulevard Austin, TX 78701
Somm Mark Sayre has an excellent palate and it shows on his list of really great, cool and sophisticated wine choices that parallel the same cool, sophisticated vibe of the hotel. Bonus is the half price happy hour, where you can get a great glass of wine and a great plate of food for under $20!
TRIO has probably the most beautiful outdoor patio, overlooking Lady Bird Lake. When weather permits, there is no nicer spot to partake of a glass or two.
Uncorked - 900 East 7th Street Austin, TX 78702
Uncorked is one of my favorite “wine bars” in town. Comfy cozy like your own living room, but it that happens to have its own bar and servers offering great wines by the glass.
Owner Ron Wight oversees every detail, adding a personal and welcoming vibe. He also hand selects each of the 60 or 70 different wines on the list and he “chooses wisely.” Being just yards off I-35 on East 7th, on-site parking makes this place an easy in/easy out, and a great place to just hang with friends when you don’t want loud, noisy and crowded.
Where are your favorite places to enjoy wine in Austin?
Rob Moshein was born and raised in Beverly Hills, California. While studying at Cambridge University in England. he was introduced to the world of wine, and began learning wine with some of the great 1st Growth Bordeaux and Grand Cru Burgundies of the 1960s and 70s. Passionate about Fine Wines and great food, he is a writer, blogger, columnist, and consultant. His is currently working with the Bordeaux Wine Council (CIVB) as one of their “Le Wine Buffs” National Brand Ambassadors at EnjoyBordeaux.com, and he blogs, muses and rants about wine at AustinWineGuy.com.
Photos courtesy of The Red Room Lounge, and via Flickr CC by kthread.