Beyond beach babes and beer bros, Pacific Beach suits limited walks of life. Since sunshine disagrees with my pale skin and I'm allergic to reggae, I don't head there often. However, after a friend's mention of Turquoise Cellars (5026 Cass St., facebook.com/turquoisecellars), I made an exception. The recently opened wine bar hidden inside Turquoise Coffee offers a change of pace to the neighborhood.
The space is aesthetically appealing and functional. With bar seating, intimate tables and one long table, it accommodates all sizes of wine-loving groups. Behind the bar, a large floral display and rows of stemware create an attractive backdrop.
I perused the retail selections first. Bottles priced at $20 to $30 seemed reasonable, and each had a descriptive card to help shoppers. I found out that if we wished to imbibe one of these, the corking fee would be $10 (bottles not bought at Turquoise can be corked for $20).
Our sun-kissed blonde server looked the part of a P.B. bartender, and her thorough knowledge of the wine list complemented her upbeat sprit. Wines by the glass range from $7 to $12, and flights of any three are $10 with pours of 2 to 3 ounces. I picked a wide-ranging wine flight: Stratum Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, an Argentinian Alta Vista Malbec and a Zinfandel from Paso Robles by Minassian Young. These varietals and regions being my favorites, I was excited to sample each. I was originally going to pick the $7 Malbec, but found it to be the weakest of my trio, so the flight turned out to be a good value. The Zinfandel was delicious, meriting its $12 price. After tasting, I ordered a glass of the crisp Sauv Blanc—its tart, herbal flavors making it a fine stand-alone choice for $7.
The quaint wine bar has sparse hours—5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday—but offers an appealing food menu of appetizers and flatbreads to complement the wines. There's a decent micro-brew selection for beer drinkers, with flights of four for $10. Unfortunately, no happy hour or nightly specials are offeredósomething I adore about wine bars in North Park and Hillcrest. While Turquoise doesn't suffer from a lack of clientele, I think specials could pack the place with those looking for a new wine hangout.