Sunday, October 28, 2012

Where To Drink: The Enomatic Wine Dispensers @ Ugo Wine Bar

The Drinks: Wines by the glass, by the bottle and by individual tastings

The Vibes: Cozy, with lots of exposed brick and dark woods

Good for: Those moments when you want a delicious glass of wine

When-to-Go: Daily happy hour, 4-7pm/Football Night (Sunday, Monday + Thursday, October–February)

With-Whom-to-Go: Date, with friends, alone

The $ Factor: $ ($1.50-$12); Individual wine tastings range from$1.50-$4 while cocktails are $10-$12.

The 4-1-1: While its sister venue Ugo Italian Café is located on the major thoroughfare Culver Blvd., the entrance to Ugo Wine Bar is actually located off of Cardiff Ave.

I’ll Be Back…: For more of the Etude Pinot Noir! 


Ugo Wine Bar is by far one of my most favorite places to drink wine ever. Part of its attraction is its quiet and cozy ambiance that includes exposed bricks and beams and glowing orange candles. But its main draw to me is that it’s introduced an uncommon way to taste wine – through the Enomatic wine dispenser.

How it works: get a tasting glass and a small card to add money (it’s up to you how much money to add – $5, $23, $100 – it’s your call). There are four machines with 48 wine bottles, all methodically labeled with the characteristics of the wine: its name, vintage, country and region of origin, varietals and even a few winemaker notes that describe how the wine tastes. The price of how much a one-ounce tasting is also listed. Take a walk around and once you find a wine worth tasting, set your glass on the machine, pop in your card – the amount of the tasting is subtracted, and out comes an ounce of wine.

This wine bar is one of the first – and only – bars to have the Enomatic wine dispenser in the city, and it really a novel way to taste wines. Rather than a wine tasting room, it’s a do-it-yourself way that allows you to sample and sip as quickly or as slowly as you’d like. If there’s a particular wine that tickles your fancy, you can buy it by the glass or by the bottle. While some wines stay for months at a time, bottles are replaced on a daily basis, so you never know what you’ll get each time you visit. The staff is also extremely friendly and helpful, should you need recommendations or assistance.

As for the wines themselves, while I’m definitely more of an avid drinker than an expert, I’ll still say that I appreciate how much variety Ugo offers. There are wines with origins from all over the States – the Central Coast, Napa and the Columbia Valley. There are wines from traditional locations, like France and Spain. And then there are wines from more unconventional regions, like south Australia.

And if you’re not a wine fan or want to take a break from the wines, Ugo has some amazing cocktails as well. Two of my favorites are the white sangria (pictured below), which includes a dash of St. Germain elderflower liqueur and the ginger pomegranate martini, which is sweet, but certainly still strong.

A menu that features food from the café is also available and on Football nights, there’s even a spread of Italian favorites like pizzas, bruschetta and proscetta (pictured below) that’s completely complimentary.

So the next time you’re looking for a wine tasting adventure, whether alone or with friends, I definitely recommend Ugo Wine Bar. See you there soon!

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