Best New Wine Bar With Occasional Beer Tastings As a Bonus - 2009
4th Street Vine
There's nothing more pleasant than drinking a glass of wine at a wine bar owned by people who refuse to be palate snobs. Said experience becomes even better when said owners are driven to generating old-school community (think pre-Facebook) the old-fashioned way: by hosting art openings, Sunday mimosa (and occasional sangria) specials, Thursday $3 wine nights and exotic Belgium beer tastings, all while showcasing great wines. Jim and Sofia, owners of 4th Street Vine, are the friendliest wine connoisseurs you'll ever meet. The converted high-ceilinged space with paint-stained, concrete floors and an old, exposed brick wall (Jim's handiwork) opened quietly earlier this year on the anti-establishment hipster strip of Fourth Street in Long Beach and quickly became the go-to wine spot after word spread of its unpretentiousness and fun, equally unpretentious tastings. Whether you're with a big group or alone, you'll end up staying longer than you'd planned on any given night, chatting it up with the funky mix of locals who drop in (and who actually live in the neighborhood), while either Jim, the ever-gregarious host; sweet Sofia; or Evan, the mellow, helpful bartender, pour generous glasses from behind the bar.