Look, I'm no sommelier. I've never been to Wine Country, and though I might typically opt for a bottle in the $10 to $15 range, I am certainly not above a trusty five-buck Chuck. Some evenings call for a quiet night in, when that first sip of chilled Pinot instantly slackens all the day's tensions. Other occasions require something more refined—elaborate chalkboard menus; dim bauble lighting overhead; a steady, hushed chatter over the tinkling of smooth jazz. And still other times call for a visit to your regular neighborhood spot, the place where the staff will just as readily recommend you a great glass of Cab as a new punk band to check out. In downtown Hollywood, that neighborhood spot is Hollywood Vine. Part wine bar, part retail space, the laid-back watering hole on Harrison Street also doubles as a venue for parties, fundraisers, and other special events. In addition to the 600 competitively priced wines selected by store operator Steven Krakow from all over the world, Hollywood Vine also stocks spirits, artisan cheese, beer, and gourmet foods, and it hosts free tastings every Tuesday featuring guest speakers on topics like regional wines and food pairings. But what really makes the place stand out is events like a pop-up record store where vinyl lovers congregate to trade wares and exchange stories (Sundays, quarterly), or an "un-"cooking class with Raw Chef Carla (monthly).
Readers' choice: 33rd Street Wine Bar