One unique thing you'll discover about Vin De Syrah is its location. At the corner of Fifth Avenue and E Street (901 Fifth Ave.), a sign directs you down a flight of stairs to the subterranean wine bar. The door, covered in (fake) shrubbery, leads you inside, where the scope of the Alice in Wonderland theme takes shape.
Hedge maze partitions, green accents and plush seating make up the whimsical décor, and, luckily, the wine menu has been given as much attention to detail. Seated at the bar, my friend and I were served by an enthusiastic bartender who described the happy-hour options (4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 4 p.m. to midnight on Sunday) and offered us sips of anything we may have been interested in. The rest of the menu offered a diverse collection of wines by the glass or bottle divided into domestic and imported selections. Everything seemed to say, "Drink me."
At only $5 a glass, we started with a happy-hour wine, the 2011 Penfold's Shiraz Cabernet blend. The familiar Australian brand was a solid choice—a palatable red with a bit of spice and tanginess, not bad for the discounted price.
After asking to sample a few others, we settled on the La Storia Petite Sirah from Trentadue Winery in Alexander Valley. When I spend more than $10 on a glass, I want to be wowed, and this wine complied. The berry accents on the nose were subtle and balanced on the tongue. The finish was delectable and silky smooth with a sweet scent like brown sugar or caramel that developed as the wine breathed.
My wine date summed it up this way: "It's like velvet in a glass."
Between the location and the posh décor, Vin De Syrah is ideal for a date night or bachelorette party. Along with the extensive wine menu, there are some food options, a lengthy list of craft beers, specialty cocktails and all spirits. Cozy for a mellow twosome, it's clearly got the atmosphere for Downtown weekend revelers, too.