Best Wine Bar - 2003
Harrison's Wine Gallery
There are bars that serve wine -- the watery house cabernet or chardonnay that you try to drink after you've had a couple of nights of the hard stuff and you're trying to tail off a little -- and there are wine bars. Harrison's Wine Gallery is one of the few places in Broward-Palm Beach with a legitimate claim to the designation. A dark, cozy, family-run establishment in downtown Hollywood, with big stressed-leather couches, cushioned windowsill benches, and a handsome 18-seat bar, Harrison's carries an impressive selection of the old vino. There are better than 100 kinds, ranging from a better-than-passable South African merlot for $30 a bottle to a three-digit epicure's delight (like maybe Mondavi-Rothschild Opus One 1999 for $245). Just a glass of the stuff? Between $7 and $10. It's all good, not house filler. There are cheese platters, hummus platters, panini, eight kinds of draft beer, and 40 bottled beers. There's a patio out back for fresh-air addicts and smokers. Harrison's has already become the hangout of choice for the Hollywood sophisticated crowd, with usually a smattering of city officials, local merchants, and artists bending elbows together at the bar, to say nothing of a broad cross section of the dating public. Proprietor Rich Duncan, an amiable Liverpudlian with a nose for fine wine, is usually parked at the bar or escorting patrons to comfortable corners. That's his wife, Mary, behind the bar, pouring big drafts of pinot noir or zinfandel. Son Marco is in the kitchen, slicing cheese. As close to home as you're going to get without being parked in your own living room.