Guest article by Laurie Engle
It’s the first date. You want it to be casual, but not careless, low-key, but not boring. The first date should give you both a chance to converse and get to know one another, without competing with too many distractions. The right romantic setting helps set the tone. You want something calming and special.
As a single woman in our fair city of Austin, I’ve been on my share of first dates. In fact, I’m a bit of an expert. And my “go-to” when asked to suggest the place to meet? I’m a huge fan of Vino Vino.
Don’t let the nondescript exterior fool you. In my opinion, this is the sexiest wine bar you’ll find in Texas. Once you step inside, the atmosphere is cool, dark and woody. They’ve used reclaimed hardwood flooring from an old Texas dance hall, and the elegant wooden bar used to have a home at Bitter End Bistro & Brewery before it closed. The low lighting begs you to stay a while and easily makes you look ten years younger! It’s the perfect place to enjoy getting to know someone new, while lingering over amazing food and a few glasses of wine.
Speaking of wine, they know their stuff. The staff are either level 1, 2 or 3 sommeliers and happy to recommend something based on your tastes. They have the flexibility of buying smaller cases of wine, so the offerings are unique and special.
I absolutely loved the Sauvignon Blanc from France that was suggested to me on my last visit. And don’t think you have to ignore paying the mortgage to go here. Their wines range in price from $24 a bottle, up to $185. You can try something absolutely amazing for $50.
Go for Happy Hour
Maybe you’re thinking that’s more than you want to spend on a first date. Don’t worry; I’d recommend the happy hour at Vino Vino. It’s one of the best in Austin. You can always get wine by the glass, and happy hour features $2 off any glass, plus six half-priced appetizers (my favorite is the mussels and fries).
I also recommend the Roth’s private reserve cheese plate. Though, if you’re on a first date, you may want to save it for another time because the sharp, crisp flavor will make you want to lick the plate clean (pretty much ensuring there will be no second date).
Plan Your Visit to Vino Vino
Vino Vino is a popular place just about any day of the week. You’ll want to show you’re on top of things by making a reservation, even if you plan on sitting at the totally cool bar with its sexy mood lighting. You’ll appreciate the spacious interior, which allows you to have an intimate conversation without your neighbors hearing every word. Did I mention the location? It’s just north of downtown in central Austin, so parking is nearby and free.
If you’re looking for a memorable place to take your Valentine this year, Vino Vino Chef Jessica Peterson is featuring a Vintage Valentine’s Day menu with drinks and food from different decades. The molten chocolate cake from 1990 sounds absolutely decadent. I’d suggest enjoying a bottle of wine or bubbles and sharing some amazing desserts with your sweetie. Make your reservation online.
The next time you want to impress that first date with something memorable, show off your chicness with a trip to Vino Vino. The night will be comfortable, classy and easy to plan. You may even leave with a second date to look forward to.
@theAustinot wants to know:
What do you order when you visit Vino Vino?
Laurie Engle LOVES Austin, Texas…its many fantastic neighborhoods, laid-back sophistication and never-ending supply of things to experience. Her work is selling homes in this amazing city, while making new friends along the way. You can follow Laurie on her Facebook page.