Bottle12 Wine Bar's knowledgeable libation lecturers escort imbibers through an array of flavorful varietals. Assemble a band of wine-minded merrymakers or finally make use of at-home cloning kits to populate a Classes with Glasses course, which politely introduces pupils to three diverse wines. Each 90-minute class touches on essential vino factoids such as typical traits of specific regions, how to make effective food pairings, and more accurate methods of plotting future bottle purchases. Each pupil can complement leggy swigs with an expertly paired appetizer, chosen by the lecturer from the bar’s gourmet menu. Students enamored of a particular vintage need not adopt a glass-half-empty worldview, as additional pours of wine, beer, food, or merchandise are available for purchase. Tutorials are capped at 16 people or 32 sentient corks.
The Westside Local Restaurant & Beer Garden satiates ravenous diners by utilizing an extensive selection of beer and a dinner menu that suggests drinks to complement each entree. Barons of the brewski can start by guzzling down a European beer, with intercontinental selections including Belgium's Hoegaarden ($6), Germany's Henniger Premium ($4), and Canada's Unibroue Ephermere Apple ($6). Domestic craft brews such as Kansas City's Boulevard Dry Stout ($6) and Bell's Two Hearted Ale ($5) from Michigan are also available for patriotic palates, as is a wide array of wines. Pair your barley pop with one of Westside Local's large entrees—the grilled chicken breast unites its poultry with a jalapeño-infused sweet potato hash ($19), and the grilled cheese sandwich, a melty amalgamation of brie, emmentaler, and white cheddar, leads gourmands on a gondola ride through cheesy canals ($9).
The Wine Bar is all about opening up to possibilities. Delicious possibilities. During their tasting events, staffers pour out several samples of wine along with appetizers. That way?at the end of the evening?patrons will know which wine varietal warrants a full bottle to take home.
Vino Bello offers a wide selection of fully personalized wine labels ($6.50–$30) to be used for special occasions, memorable events, or dastardly breakups. Give the gift of a Connoisseur Cabernet ($30) to a friend, or regale your own mouth with the light and crisp Connoisseur Chardonnay ($30). If you’re in rare form and seeking a rare delight, try the Connoisseur Merlot ($25). Vino Bello also stocks an intoxicating variety of accessories and specialty gifts.
The brainchild of New York–native Joseph Palladino, Coal Vines Restaurant centers its Italian-inspired menu around thin-crust pizzas crisped inside a coal-fired oven. Chef T.J. Stack applies his years of culinary expertise working at the landmark Savoy Grill to Coal Vine Restaurant’s menu, which pairs its retinue of cheesy pies, pastas, and sandwiches with an extensive assortment of merlots, cabernets, and chardonnays freshly squeezed from the grape’s udder. The omelet and pancake stations erected during Sunday brunch augment the eatery’s Italian offerings with classic midday fare washed down with seasonal mimosas served by flute or carafe. Daily grinders can unwind during weekday Winedowns, which offer select glasses of wine for $5 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.Wine bottles nestle inside Coal Vines Restaurant’s every nook and cranny, flanking floor-to-ceiling doors that give way to a breezy patio stationed between potted plants and black fencing. In the dining room, floors burnished to a shimmering mocha hue reflect the bright red cushioned chairs that surround each table, and at night, candles illuminate the shiny marble bar laden with vino harvested from an on-site wine vault.
Husband-wife team Colby and Megan Garrelts met in Chicago at the five-star, five-diamond TRU. After traveling to Las Vegas and Los Angeles, the culinary duo opened Bluestem Restaurant, using it as launch pad for their explorations into progressive American cuisine. Locally grown produce joins with sustainable seafood and meat in their recipes—lauded by the James Beard Foundation and Zagat. And the menu makes every dinner a multi-course story, where smoked lamb belly with barbecue spice precedes beef with fermented grains and whipped bone marrow, before themed desserts pair strawberries with angel-food cake for a perfect ending.
In Bluestem's lounge, guests sink into a more relaxed dining environment, sampling such plates as hanger steak frites and garlic pomme frites while sipping wines and craft cocktails. Whether perched in the lounge, at the hardwood bar, or at an ironed tablecloth, simple elegance abounds. Small table lamps cast warm, homey glows or exposed brick walls that allow diners to work on perfecting their chewing technique.