THURSTY: Spoke Wine Bar speaks to more than just the grapes

The bar is your oyster at Spoke
The bar is your oyster at Spoke

The opening of Spoke Wine Bar in Somerville late last month continued the increasingly fine food and drink-centric neighborhood’s expansion. In other words, Davis Square just got a little Davis Squarier. It’s a welcome addition. The space, with 12 tables brushing up against a 10-seater bar that sweeps back toward a small open kitchen, is a little joint that thinks big in its sourcing of unique wines and a full, dynamic bar program.

“When we first started training, and talking about spirits and cocktails, the first thing I said is that when you walk into a bar, it’s obvious right away when it doesn’t have a point of view, doesn’t know who it is,” bar manager Cali Gold explained. They’re first and foremost a wine bar here, but they’re also a bar that’s committed to serving beers you can’t find elsewhere, along with well-crafted cocktails. There’s no doubt that Gold can back up her latter point. She comes to Spoke after a few years at Drink in South Boston, the city’s preeminent cocktail bar for those who know that a whiskey slopped into a glass of coke is not a cocktail.

She, along with the rest of the staff, is extraordinarily knowledgeable on the wine list as well. Ultimately though, said Gold, the bar here is what you make of it. “We’re all about adapting to the different environments that the guests create,” she said. “Whether they want to taste through all the white wines and decide what’s best — or tell me what they’ve had in the past and I can whip out a craft cocktail that I know.”

This being a wine bar, however, I stuck to an array of well-chosen glasses — although the very rare Mezcalero #4 proved hard to resist. Many of the glass pours are Italian, complementing the kitchen’s steady output of charcuterie and cheeses. The Vigneto Saetti Lambrusco was a highlight — tart, crisp, cold, and effervescent — as was Valle dell’Acate Frappato, a complex wine with a nose of hibiscus and notes of both black pepper and black cherry.


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