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D’Vine is fine, but about that name (and that sign)

Hello Enthusiasts –

How’ve you been?  Summer’s been good?  OK, now that we have that out of the way…

Of course, I have more to tell you about than I have time to write about.  An amazing beer crawl through northeast LA … a place in Lake Arrowhead that’s worth the trip … a secret dinner in Elysian Park that’s worth checking out … but alas.  All on the list, all to be written about eventually.

But today, we turn to the O Hotel.  You know, that little boutique hotel on Flower between 8th & 9th that opened before Downtown exploded, which has always been really inviting? I’ve written about it a bunch – a search of “O Hotel” on the blog comes with 4 or 5 mentions.  And its restaurant, Bar/Kitchen, has always been way better, with way better cocktails, than it has to be – especially considering it’s sort of wedged into the right hand side of the lobby.

So when I heard they were opening an underground, speakeasy-ish wine bar, I was excited.  And then I saw the name:  D’Vine.  Sigh.  Really?  I mean, I know the restaurant, Bar Kitchen, is also not all that imaginatively named, but a quick Google search turned up “D’Vine Wine Bars” in Cleveland, Fargo, Cypress (TX) and Dunwoody (GA).  Hell, there’s a D’Vine Wine Bar in Lompoc.  Need I say more?

But of coudvine outsiderse, I still wanted to try it, so I went to check it out.  (The entrance is to the left of the main entrance to the hotel on Flower).  And saw this:

Again, really?  Is that Comic Sans font?  The only thing that’s missing is the bunch of grapes serving as the apostrophe.

OK, so, they don’t have the best brand consultant.  But, braving both the clichéd name AND sign, I trekked down the stairs.  And lo and behold, I found an inviting, sophisticated, urban, well-designed, great little room that immediately vaults at or near the top of my favorite “drop by for a drink” places in Downtown.

Hard to find good pictures, but these are the best I could find:

dvine insidedvine inside 2The one picture makes it look way more well list than it actually is, but gives you a sense of the design.  The other pic is a better representation of the “feel” of the place.  But it’s all Edison bulbs, amazing light fixtures, wine bars stored in the back, and reclaimed wood.  The word Eater LA used is “swanky”, and I agree.

And, as you’d expect, it has a nice little wine list, but also an unexpectedly good spirits list too.  More focused on straight stuff – no cocktails – but it feels right for this kind of space. Less expectedly, it has a nice little snack menu too – oysters, jarred pork belly rillettes, arugula salad with grapefruit, and hazelnut chocolate truffles among others.  And when was the last time a *bar* gave you an amuse bouche?  We got two here.

D’Vine helps fill an unexpectedly underserved niche in Downtown – the comfortable, easy, yet upscale bar.  We have lots of cocktail bars … we have lots of casual bars … we have lots of good restaurant bars.  But we don’t have a lot of standalone bars, not connected to a restaurant, well designed, easy to drop in after work, before a game or concert (I’ve done both), or just whenever.

Go now.  It won’t take long until this place is just as crowded as Library Bar, which is it’s closest (but still quite different) cousin in terms of approach and feel.

And for those of you who continually ask me “what’s a cool, new bar Downtown I should check out?”  – for now, you have your answer.

Happy travels.


D’Vine Wine Cellar (no website – it’s “hidden”, get it?)

821 S. Flower St. (between 8th and 9th)