16 October, 2009
Bar/Restaurant Review–West End Wine Bar, Warehouse District (Durham)Posted in : Bars and Tasting Rooms, Tasting Rooms in Durham - NC on by : The Gourmez
West End Wine Bar
601 Main Street
Warehouse District, Durham
West End Wine Bar opened up a Durham location a few months ago. Being a fan of the Chapel Hill flagship bar, I was excited to do so. This one is around the corner from the Amtrak station and, unfortunately, in the middle of the Main Street construction for the present. But you can still make your way into their plentiful parking lot and join the other West End Wine bar goers who have done the same. There were a healthy number of patrons for early on a Thursday night.
Durham’s WEWB has a similar setup to its Chapel Hill counterpart, though the lighting is somewhat lighter. There is a long, welcoming, wood-topped bar on the mezzanine floor with new black couches in the back of the room and plenty of small tables and chairs of the ubiquitous sparkling silver variety scattered around.
There is also a charming loft area with plenty more couches and a stairwell that is much less narrow and steep than the original location’s, which makes it both more accessible and less fun at the same time. Yes, I get excited by dark, narrow stairwells.
Patio seating is also available. The walls, of course, are brick, as are those of many places located in renovated downtown properties, though there are also some dijon-mustard colored splashes. Geometric artwork is hung here and there as well.
The vibe, when I arrived around 8 PM, was relaxed and largely consisted of patrons in their early 40s to mid-50s. By an hour later, most of them had left and the crowd thinned and grew younger.
Featured glasses of wine and truffle flavors are written on the chalkboard behind the bar but make sure to grab the wine list from the bartender. It is divided mostly by wine regions and has entertaining captions like “Of Spanish Descent” for those wines of Spain and her former colonies. There are affordable flights available in each wine category, which is fantastic, or you could opt for a sip, glass, or bottle portion instead. The sample size is almost that of a normal pour and a glass is a generous one.
The aforementioned truffles ($2) are a good, if teeny, choice. I had a dark chocolate and honey truffle and my god, that was good honey. Very creamy and bright in flavor. It might have gone better with milk chocolate than the dark but it was 30 seconds of bliss regardless.
If you are interested in food to go with your wine, there is a menu of charcuterie, cheese, bread, and small plates, including pizzas from Pop’s Trattoria down the road ($5-12).
I think I might be partial to Chapel Hill’s location as I like my bars somewhat dimmer and livelier but depending on my mood, both of those qualities can sometimes be a bad thing. Durham’s West End Wine Bar will do well for me if I want a quieter glass of wine or just plain don’t feel like driving to Franklin Street.
I haven’t tried the Cellar, West End Wine Bar’s liquor and music club, at either location, so sorry, can’t fill you in on those yet!