Got That Boom Boom: Bodega Wine Bar

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Too Bodegaliscious for Me

Last week I wrote a review of Corkbar, one of LA’s many new venues for vinophiles.

This week, I’m writing about Bodega. Bodega is a night club wine bar with locations in Santa Monica, Hollywood and Pasadena. Bodega’s website describes their raison d’etre thusly:

We like to drink wine. Not so much sniff it, stare at it, swirl it or try to describe it with funny words… but mostly just drink it. And most of our wines are the same price so it’s easy to try different things. Come check out the original in Pasadena or the new one in Santa Monica.

Cool. I can dig it. They’ve built an oasis for thirsty souls to seek refuge and quench themselves. No pretense or pretension. They’re all about sitting down, strapping in and getting sauced. I can dig that, too.

But here’s the part where I get hung up a little: They call themselves a wine bar. And when I go to a wine bar, I’m really doing it for the wine. If I want to drink just any old fermented thing, I’ll reach for a can of Four Loco. Or, actually, I’ll probably go to a regular bar – a bar that isn’t focused on wine. A bar where no one is expected to sniff, stare or swirl. Well. Not their wine, anyway.

Bodega feels more like a bar-bar than a wine bar. To wit, they offer only 12 reds and 12 whites, 3 dessert wines, 3 bottles of bubbles and beer, sake and soju. In every category, everything is – more or less – the same level of quality, and nothing you wouldn’t be able to find at a shop near you. Incidentally, this also keeps prices low-low-low.

Bodega offers a small plate menu of unfussy foods like grilled cheese, hummus and pita, a few salads and an array of pizzas. They offer long tables with communal seating, and just a few smaller tables arranged in-between groupings of low, cushion-y stools. They offer their take on the vibe like this: “…it’s a great blend of a casual setting with lots of things to munch on and share. We tried to make our menu kinda like that.”

Here’s the other thing about Bodega: It’s dark and it’s loud. Like, live-DJs-on-weekends and this-one-goes-to-11 loud. Every time I’ve been, my fellow geezers and I get run off after 9pm because the full-tilt cranial assault makes our dentures rattle.

Dude. It’s all coming clear – the straight-forward wine menu, the casual descriptors, the dark, the loud, the easy-breezy munchy food, the great big party communal vibe: Bodega’s built for young people. It’s a night club without the dancing and full bar. It’s a place to see and be seen; it’s a place to pick up digits – but not the details about what you’re drinking. If you’re feeling young and hot and flirty, go to Bodega. Go to Bodega for great drink specials and pizza. Go to Bodega because there are three, easy-to-access locations. Just don’t go to Bodega for wine.

Posted on by Arianna Armstrong in Arianna's Wine Tasting Notes

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