I pitied the wine bar proprietor when my Haahvaaard friend took him to task for his wine list, after the jazz band finished. “Look,” she said, “I’m a wine snob, and if you really want to appeal to the NPR market, you’ve got to do better than this.” Sadly, she missed the point – the wine bar owner had upscaled the EXPERIENCE, and that’s good business anytime.
Like many wine bars in recession-challenged cities like San Francisco, Café Royale (Leavenworth @ Post) has reformatted and reformatted again. Owner Les Cowan has put together an incredible list of events: live music many nights, always Jazz (no cover charge) from 6-8 p.m. Sundays, comedy acts, artists’ receptions. Something for everyone!
Last Sunday, the Gregory James Quartet was playing mellow jazz. My friend knew the girlfriend of the lead guitarist – that‘s why she was there. Join us, was the text message. And so, I did. It was great until those well-toned taste buds spoke up. Not mine – hers.
I’m not a wine snob. I’m a wine fan. I’m also a proponent of this great American (and worldwide) business of wine, and my taste buds are obviously not up to Harvard snuff (although my student loans were…). But I liked Les’ list. Good tasty wines at wine-by-the-glass prices that keeps the place open, and accessible to a local clientele. And those regular locals are the folks who keep a wine bar in business.
Café Royale’s list features a respectable 20-or-so wines. It is varied and affordable. In the reds, a Torres Tempranillo 2004 is $9/glass, $34/bottle. Monte Vina Zinfandel 2003 at 8/30. In whites, a Benvolio Pinot Grigio 2006, 8/26. Norton Torrontes 2005, 8/30. Jekkel Gewurtz 2005, 8/30. And to tickle the sweet tooth, Warre’s Optima tawny port 10 year, $10 a glass.
Check it out. Oh, and check the wine-snobbism at the door when you enter. Put on your party hat and tip it a bit for the wine bar owners who make it possible for us commoners to enjoy art, performance and music with a nice glass of wine in our hands.