Chill Wine Lounge in Fort Lauderdale: Ultramodern Specialty Wine, Craft Beer Spot
We're not exactly sure who coined the style of décor called "deco glam" or whether it should have ever been paired with the word "chill" (or invented), but we do know that Chill Wine Lounge in Fort Lauderdale has a lot more going for it than aesthetics.
Ultramodern chrome accents, over-the-top neon purple lighting, and floral motifs all give off the air of trying a little too hard, but since opening this past December, this specialty wine and craft beer bar and lounge has earned a reputation for providing a trendy and lively atmosphere along with a menu loaded with unique and moderately priced drink offerings, all conveniently located right next door to the Gateway independent movie theater.
An inkjet-on-stock paper menu a few pages thick warns on the first page: "We are still working on making Chill the best experience..." Well, at least they were being honest. Even though a friendly bartender greeted us promptly and only a few couples took up seats on the weeknight we stopped by, overall the service was slow and a bit sloppy. After giving our orders at least three times to two different employees, it became clear Chill still has a few kinks to work out. Perhaps if they'd opted for a good old pen and paper rather than taking our orders on a malfunctioning iPad, we would have received our drinks sooner; and if our server had been a little less distracted by his touch screen, he might have also remembered which drink belonged to whom.
Despite the couple of setbacks, when our drinks arrived, we couldn't help but be pleased by the generous pours. The Alamos 2010 Seleccion Malbec I picked out from Argentina was full and smooth, with deep cherry and plum flavors. My two guests went for the Excelsior 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon from South Africa and the 14 Hands 2011 Hot to Trot White Blend from Washington state, and both were pleased with their selections, taking note of the fact that they hadn't seen either of these options anywhere else before.
The gorgeous terrazzo flooring and window-lined walls overlooking a busy sidewalk earn points for the midsized venue that for now serves only wine and beer but plans to expand its menu to include cheese boards and other tapas-styled snacks within the next couple of months. And the corner location with both street parking and a designated lot really can't be beat; Chill is the perfect neighborhood spot to begin your night out to the movies or end an evening with great drinks.
Hopefully, by our next visit management will have invested in a better app for taking orders (when our checks finally arrived -- surprise! -- we had been charged for the wrong drinks). And I have to admit, the Sarah McLachlan streaming over the speakers wasn't exactly the most uplifting of background-music choices. But Chill Wine Lounge is still young, and the strong foundations of a great idea and expert drink selection should be enough to carry it until it finally finds its feet.
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