by Maren Swanson
April 27th, 2013
I was scrolling through Lovehappyhour.com’s list of West Hollywood happy hours the other day, and I ran across a new place I had never tried before: The Colonial Wine Bar. I had visited its Italian predecessor TiroVino awhile back and was curious to see what had changed, but what really caught my eye was their happy hour deal: $12 for 3 small plates paired with wine or beer. As the phrase goes: if something sounds/looks too good to be true, then it probably is. This happy hour queen was about to find out…
I called ahead to confirm the website’s information and they verified it was true. Score. Next, I did a background check. The Mediterranean establishment had decent reviews online and they specialized in wine and tapas – my kind of place. My companion and I headed to the famous Melrose strip and searched for our happy hour joint. I had to look at the address a couple of times to confirm the street address, and finally, I had to ask the valet attendant at Bugatta where The Colonial Wine Bar was. He pointed to a black door right behind me. “Really, here?” I asked. He nodded. It looked like an entrance to a speakeasy, not a restaurant.
We headed through the covered patio and into the intimate interior. The
I immediately nixed the salad option – it was my day off. The two of us ordered our 3 plates each and then asked for some help with the drinks. I mentioned that I wanted to start with a white wine, and she poured me a couple options before I decided on her Sancerre suggestion. My friend chose a Bordeaux style red. Mind you, we were poured glasses that were about two-thirds full (of an average wine pour), but they weren’t your average happy hour wines, so I was okay with it.
The most consistent note on all of our dishes: they all tasted homemade - a major plus. The herbed frites (served in a crystal glass) still held a physical resemblance to their original form; sliced steak-cut with pointed edges and served piping hot with seasoning and garlic aioli. I especially loved the lamb meatballs – moist, delicious and perfectly cooked. Deviled eggs seem to be a reoccurring trend these days, which I like because well, I just like eggs. However, the ones served here were like most others I try, good, but not GREAT – maybe because they are served more traditionally, with flavors of smoked paprika and Dijon mustard. The hummus and pita plate was also served with a tzatziki greek yogurt sauce, which I continued to nosh on for the entire time we were there. It was tangy, fresh and addicting.
Near the end of our meal, we sampled a few more wines and I continued on drinking with a Tora Bay New Zealand Savignon Blanc. The nose on the wine was heavy with passion fruit and finished with some zesty lime notes. My friend opted for the Alagash Ale on draft – a no brainer. What I loved even more about The Colonial Wine Bar is that they offer the option of ordering half glasses – perfect for someone like me, who enjoys sampling.
So, the place wasn’t too busy (some of the negatives I read on Yelp). Who cares? The food, wine, beer and service were great, which is how I judge if I will come back to an establishment. Plus, they let you sample tastes before you order your drink. I would definitely recommend The Colonial Wine Bar as a great date spot – whether it be happy hour or not. If you want to be at the hippest new spot in LA, go, but I’ll be a my new little “diamond in the rough,” happy hour.
The Colonial Wine Bar