Most local wine stores are places you go to buy, not drink, wine. You may be able to attend a tasting, and get some small tastes, but they won't sell you a glass of wine. But there is at least one wine store where that is not the case.
Once a week, on Thursday evenings, Central Bottle transforms into a Wine Bar. Central Bottle, a new wine store in Central Square, Cambridge, was my 2009 Favorite New Boutique Wine Store. They have an excellent selection of artisan wines and gourmet foods, and also run numerous interesting events.
At their Wine Bar, they offer several wines available by the glass as well as a variety of cicchetti and other foods, such as a cheese plate for two. So you can hang at the wine store, drinking and dining, as well as chatting with everyone else present. You can also walk around, examining their wine selection. It is informal and fun, a nice place to visit after work, maybe as a precursor to a night on the town.
There is usually a theme for each Wine Bar, so the available wines will vary each night. Sometimes wine makers will be present at the Wine Bar, showcasing their wines. So you can drink and ask questions directly from the wine maker. For my first Wine Bar, Carl Sutton of Sutton Cellars was pouring some of his wines as well as his new vermouth. (I'll go into more detail about Sutton in another post very soon.)
The vermouth and three wines all cost from $6-$9 per glass, and the foods started at about $2. There were plenty of food choices available, catering to all palates, from carnivore to vegetarian. I have enjoyed the cicchetti and other foods at Central Bottle on several visits, and there always seems to be something new and delicious for me to try.
I really enjoyed the Wine Bar, especially as I got to chat with Carl Sutton. Good food, good wine, and good conversation. How could anyone complain? I will be back for more Wine Bar nights and recommend my readers check it out as well. Central Bottle is doing things right.