Friday, November 5, 2010

Hey Weekend, You are Looking Good

It's the freaking weekend. You likely have big plans tonight. But let's say you don't 'cause you are a loser. Or you and your special friend want to stay at home and play Scrabble. First off, good call. Second, if the game gets too heated and you need a break, Chef Tariq Hanna is on TBS's Dinner and a Movie. The movie this week is Talladega Nights, and as Tariq is a confessed "Amateur Motor Sports Freakazoid", he will likely spice up the evening with anecdotes about cam shafts and being clutch.


Now onto our junk. This month we reviewed Bouligny Tavern in offBEAT Magazine. Our overall thoughts are this: Bouligny is a really cool space, the food more than passes muster, and the cocktails kick arse. Bouligny Tavern fits a nice need. One it is a great place for a quick drink and snack before heading somewhere else. Two, it is a good spot to have a light meal with a few drinks. Three, it is one of the most well-designed spaces in the city. We really like the place. So you can stop here. If you keep reading, know the rest of this incoherent rambling rant is directed at pretty much every wine bar in the city, and is not particular to Bouligny Tavern. Sorry they had to be the catalyst.

Numerous wine centric bars have opened in the city over the last few years, but especially recently. What do all of these have in common? OVERPRICED wines by the glass. Look, I get it. You want to have a cool bar with interesting wines by the glass. Part of your business model, I assume, is attracting sophisticated diners and winers.

Well, guess what? That segment of the population is often more knowledgeable about wine prices. So when you have a glass of wine on your list for $9 they know immediately that the same bottle of wine costs $12 at Elio's. So the precise people you want to attract, you have immediately ticked off. We know you bought that bottle for $5-6 bottles wholesale. We know you have overhead. But listen, if you charged $5 a glass, I will order two glasses instead of one. Shoot, put the bottle at $22 and I'll just order the whole damn thing. A bar is a volume based business, seize that volume.

Secondly, in Louisiana we drink a lot of beer, there is nothign wrong with this. I assume part of your goal is to introduce the largely beer drinking public of Louisiana to some wines you really like. Well, if a beer is $4 and a glass of wine is $9 it doesn't take a math minor long to figure out: "For the price of one glass of wine, I can get two beers and tip the waitress." Now you are just another bar where half the orders are for longnecks, twenty-five percent for cocktails, and the rest wine and shotzzzzz. Congrats, drop the wine from your marquee, you are a bar.

Finally, a great wine bar should change people's attitudes about the role wine can play in a happy lifestyle. Wine is not an extravagance, it is not for special occasions, and it is not solely at home in a fancy restaurant with a sommelier calling the shots. Wine is a simple luxury that people should enjoy daily for the health benefits and structure it brings to society. By charging a premium on participating in this basic enjoyment of life in cultures around the globe, you have not changed anyone's attitude about wine. So for the guy who thinks wine is "elitist, snobby, and fussy", you have just affirmed that stereotype for him. Good wine and affordable wine are not mutually exclusive.

Someone open a wine bar that has wines by the glass that are not outrageous examples of highway robbery. Don't make me get off my high horse.

End Rant.

9 comments:

Nola said...

Lovely. Such a wonderful rant. Really, have nothing to add. Well, other than I am now thirsty. And have excellent wine in BR last night. NOT in a wine bar.

robert said...

Well said, my lad. Well said.

Becky said...

Megadittos. And if the places can't bring themselves to make the BTG prices more reasonable, they should at least have a decent house bottle or a daily/weekly $5 special a la Delachaise.

Anonymous said...

Are you ever wrong? Ever? So far, the answer is no. Keep posting, homes.

Peter said...

I'm with Becky in that Delachaise does a great job by offering the $5 special. More wine bars should copy this idea.

Rene said...

Anon,

Obviously you have never met Lindsay.

Jones said...

Amen! I also like the all too often under-utilized format of selling wines by the half bottles (ala Herbsaint, et al) or even by the 3oz pour (wink in Austin). If you call yourself a "wine bar", shouldn't this be par for the course? had to throw a golf pun in there for you guys...

Becky said...

Two coworkers and I had lunch for the first time at Sylvain yesterday - the food was nice, but we would have liked a glass of wine. Cheapest red BTG: $12. I did mention it to the waitress, and she said she'd mention it at their meeting.

Emily said...

I completely agree!!!!