In the spirit of this Local Music Issue, I gave some thought to which wine bars in town also serve up musical entertainment. There are plenty of places to enjoy a glass with some swanky jazz, but if you want something a little more rock 'n' roll, the Riviera Supper Club's Turquoise Room is a superb spot.
Most nights, bands are featured in the bar, as has been the case for several years. Alternative rock, alt-country and soul-fusion are some of the genres on the calendar in coming weeks. But with Michael Rammelsberg of Proprietor's Reserve Wine Bar taking ownership in 2011, the wine also became a high priority.
With more than 75 wines by the bottle and around 20 by the glass, the list boasts many California offerings and a few other regions. One of my favorites is the 2010 Ballistic by Tobin James, a Zinfandel from Paso Robles. This lush, complex red opens with a touch of sour raisin on the tongue. The flavors smooth into rich cherry and currant notes.
On a recent visit, I decided to try something from the Provocative White section—the 2011 Clayhouse Adobe White. The blend of predominately Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc presents the best characteristics of both, with grass and grapefruit flavors. The mellow finish is easily palatable, tasting of lemon custard.
Riviera (rivierasupperclub.com, 7777 University Ave. in La Mesa) has furthered its wine focus by adding a wine-bar section that opened on Valentine's Day. The front patio was converted with chic bar and high-table seating. For now, it'll be open Friday and Saturday nights with a special menu featuring wine-friendly foods like stuffed mushrooms, cheese plates and more.
With this, The Riv now offers the best of both worlds for fans of wine and music: for wine lovers, an inviting ambiance, food that complements our drink of choice and stellar wine selections, and for music lovers, a comfortable place to let loose and check out killer bands.