Like the woman from whom it takes its name, Roxolana Restaurant captures the imagination. An Ottoman empress in the 16th century, the Ukrainian-born Roxolana earned fame and adoration by rising from slave to sultan's wife, then to puddle of borscht. Her namesake restaurant evokes the olden days with a décor of traditional Ukrainian folk art such as rushnyk, or hand-embroidered towels, and oberig, or decorative wreaths.
Roxolana Restaurant's father-son team of Ukrainian chefs grill succulent meats, lace dishes with housemade spicy cayenne-tomato sauce, and whip up desserts such as red-wine mousse. They match their traditional dishes with barbecue ribs and light lunch fare. A generous selection of wines and beers refreshes throats parched from struggling to pronounce entree selections.
redwhite+bluezz, a nightly confluence of wine, contemporary American cuisine, and live jazz music, won the Best Live Music Club and Best Wine Selection awards from Pasadena Weekly in 2011. Divided into The Grill and The Vintage Room, the decorated eatery fuels feasts with a menu of grilled beef, seafood, and chicken dishes alongside platters of artisan cow, sheep, and goat cheeses and trays covered in charcuterie, some cured in-house. Seasoned sommelier Russ Meek complements the eats by crafting his signature flight menus, which offer pairing suggestions from the expansive wine list, 40 of which are available by the glass.Sounds of humming horns, rattling drums, and strumming guitars reverberate in the jazz club, where heralded local musicians perform every night and during Sunday brunch. Dedicated to enriching entertainment, redwhite+bluezz hosts a slew of monthly events, including 90-minute flight school sessions that document the history, background, and embarrassing middle school stories of local wines.
A retail shop outfitted with a tasting bar, Colorado Wine Company is run by owners John and Jennifer Nugent, who offer a friendly, laid-back environment for mingling and sipping. Each Tuesday night, fervent taste buds will traipse through a flight of four wines, presented specifically by the wines' importers and winemakers. Artisanal cheeses from Auntie Em's Cheese Shop are on hand to complement and flatter each glass and palate, and you can purchase bottles (many under $25) to re-create tastings at home for dinner guests and monocle-wearing cats.
Providing an urbane setting for late-night tête-à-tetes and fine martini concoctions, Esquire Bar & Lounge sets imbibers within a warmly hued lounge, offset by elegant chandeliers and ensconced lighting. Make a toast with draft selections such as Stella Artois and Newcastle ($6 each). Fine spirits for neat-leaning tipplers include Patrón Añejo ($11) and MacCallan 18 ($18), with mixed drinks such as long island iced teas also available to sip or use to transport fish in ($11). DJs spin on the weekends, soundtracking warm conversations and dance moves.
Cozy candlelight and flickering lanterns cast soft shadows in 55 Degree Wine’s cellar, where waiters eagerly pair customers’ palates with weekly rotating wines. Featured on Best of LA Weekly in 2012 for its wine program, the winery stocks more than 2,000 labels, of which up to 60 are spotlighted in the cellar’s monthly lineup of pours. Though most vintages are Italian, ambrosias from Europe, South America, and other far-flung climes find homes in the shop after being tasted and approved by store owners. The thermostat, appropriately set to 55 degrees, helps keep elixirs fresh and patrons comfortable, but guests may wish to bring a sweater or particularly affectionate bear.
Though freedom to choose your own pairings is good for believers in true love and eclectic décor, professionally paired flavor combos showcase the best qualities of each ingredient. A retail shop outfitted with a handsome tasting bar, California Wine and Cheese stocks wines produced exclusively in California, regularly consisting of over 200 selections. Wine flights consist of four to five samplings and change every Friday, giving customers a chance to gain a broad appreciation for all kinds of wine. If you've already sampled one or more wines from the flight, just wait a week and new choices of red or white wine will magically appear. To complement the characteristics of each wine, a sampling of imported and domestic cheeses accompanies each flight. Because California Wine and Cheese sells the goods to take home, you can purchase the wines and cheeses you like best to re-create the pairings at home for dinner guests and culinarily curious cats.
City Sip tempts guests with a globally focused wine list featuring more than 40 wines by the glass, complemented by a thoughtful menu of cheese, small plates, panini, and more. Swirl, sniff, and sip your way through potable pleasures such as an Alsatian gewürztraminer from Klipfel ($11/glass), a Felino malbec ($12/glass), or another pick from the encyclopedic selection of bubblies, whites, reds, roses, and other vine-based beauties. Like the three-fisted men who harvest the grapes, wine flights provide a one-two-three palate punch, while dessert wines such as a Landskroon morio muscat ($11/glass) gently slap tongues with sweetness. A selection of craft beers including Allagash Curieux ($8) and Eagle Rock Brewery Solidarity ($7), plus a handful of nonalcoholic options, round out the liquid luxuries.