The Valley’s wine bars offer long lists of vino and a laid-back atmosphere
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We’ve all been there. Packed elbow to elbow in a booth, beer in hand, craning our necks to hear a friend’s story over the din of Journey on the jukebox. Yes, the corner pub deserves its place in the pantheon of weekend diversions. Occasionally, however, it’d be nice to sit back, relax, and enjoy a beverage with friends, minus the boisterous crowd and deafening music.
Fortunately, the increasingly popular wine bar provides just that opportunity. Wine bars — low-key, conversation-friendly hangouts whose drink menus consist almost exclusively of wine — started popping up decades ago, but have flourished only in recent years. Why? One reason is the drink itself. Americans today love wine: By 2012, we’re poised to surpass the Italians, bottle for bottle, as the beverage’s biggest consumers. Another reason is an apparently growing demand for an easygoing night out. Think of the wine bar as the cozy coffeehouse on the corner that serves up alcohol instead of lattes.
The five Valley bars listed here — all of which opened in the past two years and also serve bistro dishes — operate in that spirit of bonhomie. Says Kevin Moran, the co-owner of Hudson’s (p.m.) Wine Bar: “I wanted to offer a place that was more comfortable. Like someone’s home, except with an 18-foot marble bar in the middle.”
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