Best Livermore Wine Bars

Lately, the addition wine bars in downtown Livermore has the local wine scene buzzing and Wine Oh TV decided to check them all out.  Each place, unique from the other, had all the central ingredients of a successful wine bar: welcoming owners, live music, extensive wine list, interesting food menus and sophisticated ambiance.  Hopping from place to place was the thing to do and if these places were smart, they would create a wine bar passport to encourage migration between all four.

Swirl on the Square

Best Livermore Wine BarsWhy you should visit:

Owner: Rocco Maitino

Website:www.swirlonthesq.com

The veteran of the group, Rocco turned a sleepy, almost vacant square into a happening spot. Neatly situated in a 70 year old brick building, Rocco’s long history in the local restaurant industry has paid off as he knows how to create an environment that you want to come back too again and again. When you visit, don’t be surprised if you find Rocco sitting with you and your party at your table as if he were an old friend!

 

The Wine:

A constantly evolving list, Rocco enjoys finding unusual wines, especially from the Livermore Valley that he can share with his customers for reasonable prices. In fact, you can almost try every wine on his list for under $50!  He serves 2 ounce pours, flights, by the glass, or by the bottle.

The Food:

His food is spot-on with unique creations, old favorites and new additions with the help of Chef Frank. The BBQ stack and cold roasted pork are fresh and hearty!  If you are in the mood for dessert, don’t miss the Famous Secret Cake made by his mom who keeps the recipe top-secret. The cake is incredibly moist, rich and buttery, sprinkled with powdered sugar and walnuts.

Events:

Every Saturday and Thursday night, Swirl invites local winemakers to give their wines a whirl at Swirl on the Side, a small room off the main dining room used for retail wine sales, private parties, and wine club events.  Expect live music every Friday and Saturday, karaoke every other Thursday, and happy hour on Sunday. Trivia night is coming soon!

Double Barrel Wine Bar

Best Livermore Wine BarsWhy you should visit:

Owners: Kristin and Robert Armstrong

Website: www.doublebarrelwinebar.com

From start to finish, Double Barrel is an entire food and wine experience.   The artfully crafted bar and hand painted mural, all add to the eye-popping appeal. Newbies of the block, owner’s Kristin and Robert wanted to create a place that people can connect and enjoy food and wine.  This theme extends to the no TV policy in the bar. Good Call!

The Wine:

Gerrald Gilligan, the wine director, doesn’t look old enough to drink, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know a thing or two about wine. In fact, get him going and you learn he has quite a bit of knowledge about his passion. He has crafted an incredibly eclectic wine list from local to afar that will get anyone’s sipper excited!

The Food:

When Executive Chef Tony Murray was introduced to the Armstrong’s, it must have been love at first bite.  Since that time, the three have been working together flawlessly, creating an incredibly interesting small plate menu. With 25 year experience, Chef Tony loves the challenge of a start-up restaurant. He has a passion for food and wants to create memorable experiences. Don’t miss the sweet potato fries served with brown sugar habanero aioli dipping sauce and his popular flatbread of the day!

Events:

Live music can be heard from the patio every Friday and Saturday night. Winemaker’s dinners are on the horizon with a few  already scheduled and sold out!

Winemaker’s Pour House

Best Livermore Wine BarsWhy you should visit:

Owners: Kelly McFarland & Julie Racine

website: www.winemakerspourhouse.com

Location, location, location! This completely refurbished wine bar sits in prime Livermore real-estate, in the middle of all the action across from Lizzie Fountain. Outdoor seating provides ample people watching, but if privacy is your thing, continue inside to the private outdoor patio with a picturesque view of Old Glory waving in the wind.

The Wine:

Big fans of Livermore wine, the list is exclusively from this AVA.  They wanted to offer a place for local wineries to showcase their product, and apparently wineries are lined up to get a spot on their list. Order wine in flights, by-the-glass or a by-the-bottle.

The Food:

On the menu are soups, salads, sandwiches, small bites and a mix-and-match artisan cheese plate. The favorite sandwich is, “The Josh,” a sandwich named after the incredibly likable server.

Events:

Every Wednesday, the Pour House hosts an evening with the winemaker. Tickets are $15-20 and include a wine flight and food pairings. Every Friday and Saturday night they host a variety of live bands.

First Street Wine Company

Best Livermore Wine BarsWhy you should visit:

Owners: Mike & Linda Allen

Website: www.wineco.com

A stone’s throw from the Winemaker’s Pour House, this wine store-by- day, and wine bar-by-night, has been jumping since Mike and Linda Allen took it over little more than a year ago. Inside, the brightly painted place hosts a broad selection of wines to purchase. Wine consists primarily from California with a big Livermore wine selection, as well as a plethora of wine accessories and gadgets.  Inside or out, wine barrel tables are set, ready for you to uncork your purchase and relax.

The Wine:

In the beginning, paying close attention to the buying habits of their customers has helped Mike and Linda craft a consistent and interesting selection of wine in their store. Throughout the week, Mike and Linda highlight a few bottles from their shelves and create a flight or by the glass selection. The flights are typically arranged varietally or regionally.

The Food:

Last year, Linda purchased a refrigerated display case to hold a wide selection of crackers, cheeses, and meats. Order a bottle of wine, pick out a few items out of the display, and Linda will hand you a cutting board, knife, napkins, and wine glasses to enjoy your hearty snack with your wine purchase.

Events:

In addition to special flight nights throughout the week, they host a Winemaker’s Spotlight on Thursday nights where they invite wineries out to highlight their wines. They also have a “Tuesday Tunes” night with live music.

Lindsey Roffey

Lindsey is a general manager of a small family run winery in the Livermore Valley. Currently she poses her CSW, is an Advanced Certified Sommelier through the USSA, and has her advanced certificate through WSET. In her spare time, she continues to study and take wine certification courses.

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PUBLISHED DATE: April 4th, 2012 | WINE CATEGORY: Wine 101, Wine Reviews
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