As we've mentioned before in this space, if there's one thing we'd like to see bars doing more of, especially ones who are interested in educating guests about drinking options outside of their normal comfort zones, it's offering smaller-sized pours. That's one thing that the newly opened Sip Wine Bar + Kitchen has got right. The latest offering from Legendary Restaurant Group, the people behind Papagayo and Max and Dylan's, among others), is a wine-focused bar with three glass size options, including a 2 oz. sip, a 6 oz. half glass and a 10 oz. full glass.
While they'll still happily offer guests a complimentary taste of something they'd like to try, co-owner Chris Damian says, "It allows people who are having dinner and want to try a couple of wines to not have to commit to full glass." Three "sips" might cost roughly the same as a normal glass at other restaurants, he says, but this means you can skip around between genres easily. That's particularly helpful, considering their eclectic small plates menu, which runs all over the map from sushi (try the surprisingly great spicy yellowtail) to Italian.
It makes for "more exposure and brand awareness," Damian says. "A lot of times people stick to something they like; this might be able to get them something try new."
The affordably priced wine list here is broken further down into flavor profiles like Buttery Whites, Spicy Reds and Fruity Wines, which also provides a handy introductory shorthand for less savvy drinkers. "That way people will think about what type they normally drink, and say 'that falls into this category', and they can see other wines they'd be comfortable consuming."
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Taking over for the old Bina space, they’ve brightened up the color palate and added more high-top cocktail tables. There’s a sense of movement to the space, and an upbeat Euro-house style soundtrack aids that. The 40-seat oblong bar fills most of the room, although giant pillars break it up into more manageable, and cozy-seeming spaces. “We tried to enhance it to make it a bit more approachable,” Damian says of the design. “It was very stark, very Miami Beach-like, so we softened the colors.”
What to drink?
As they’ve just opened, the list is due to undergo changes, with more challenging and complex wines added with time. The opening cocktail list is unremarkable, although a margarita made with a hand-selected barrel of Herradura brought over from the shelves of Papagayo is simple and well made. The tequila itself is worth trying as well, with deep, spiced honey notes. On the more easy-drinking end of the spectrum, Damian says he expects their selection of frozen Bellinis (peach, black cherry, blueberry etc.) to become a staple over the summer.
Sip Wine Bar + Kitchen
571 Washington St., Boston