By Dr. Ink
Red is my preferred color for wine and roses. I never compromise when buying the latter although after a protracted bout of drinking petite syrah, cabernet sauvignon and jammy zinfandels (my three favorite varietals), I’ll succumb to something crimson, like a semi-dry trollinger blend from Wurttemberg, Germany.
That’s what jumped out at me during happy hour at The Rose, the darling wine bar in charming South Park that is part of the quaint 30th & Fern commercial plaza. Much like restaurants with terrific views, The Rose takes its idyllic location pretty seriously in terms of wine selection — and I’ll dare say in attitude as well.
Since visiting years ago when the establishment was under different ownership, the availability of gourmet noshes and coveted wines hasn’t changed. But based on two recent experiences, service has become less personable.
When dropping in two months ago, for example, a female bartender talking incessantly on her cell phone never looked up at me as I stood waiting to place a glass order. To no avail, I killed another 10 minutes perusing the games and books and wines on the wooden shelves and then ended up walking out.
I last came in for happy hour and took a seat at a table, only to be hurriedly tossed a menu several minutes later by a male bartender who had the personality of wine cork. He disappeared often through the swinging kitchen door behind the bar as I waited to ask several questions about the deals on food and wine. Nowhere did I see a menu card or signage listing them. Perhaps I overlooked a notice posted outside?
When finally returning to my table due to a polite flagging down, he offered half-answers to my questions. He only stated at first that all wines by the glass are $2 off during happy hour. Period.
It wasn’t until I kept digging for more information that he revealed the same deal applies to draft beer and flatbreads. In addition, he quickly rattled off that the regular corkage fee drops from $10 to $5 a bottle.
If I hadn’t later spotted the posting about happy hour on The Rose’s website, I’d think these deals were available only to certain cliques.
I paired my lovely pink German wine to a modest mushroom-potato flatbread with bleu and mozzarella cheeses. It came to $13 with the discount and looked scrumptious. But sadly, it was too doughy and soggy to fully consume.
Although the bartender never asked what I thought of the wine or flatbread, he made an unexpected turnaround by giving me (with my $20.50 bill) a small glass of Spanish Hondurabbi Beltza rose wine. It tasted pleasantly earthy and offered refreshing hints of strawberry.
Yes, I was pink with gratitude but disappointed by the overall lack of hospitality in an attractive and relaxing neighborhood wine bar I’d like to think normally steers clear of pretentiousness.