You can get a nice glass, or bottle, of wine at just about any restaurant or bar in Waco, but for those who really love their wine, going to a wine bar is like no other. Some wine bars serve only wine, while others offer a limited menu and perhaps a variety of beers.
Wine bars and bistros are embracing the intellectual stimulation linked to wine while offering an alternative to the average bar scene. It seems to be a more acceptable place to meet your girlfriends for a drink. Wine bars generally have a more laid-back environment. This easy-going atmosphere lends itself to more quaint areas with casual, comfortable seating, like couches. Or a patio. You feel more at-home and not so much like you are in a bar.
Promoting a good socializing setting with a less crowded feel and more intimate appeal is one of the reasons people are flocking to wine bars and bistros.
You can feel at ease in a wine bar even if you are not an aficionado of wine. It becomes a place of comfort. People who are interested in drinking wine casually, versus just with their dinner, enjoy wine bars. Wine is a popular alternative to ordering a beer or a margarita.
So, where can you go in Waco to enjoy a glass of wine with friends in this comfortable setting?
Three places come to mind, in no certain order. All serve fine wines to be enjoyed by the novice drinker or a master of wine. All have comfortable seating, offering a more relaxed environment. Two serve food off of a menu, one doesn’t. Two are located on Austin Avenue. All are highly recommended.
The Wine Shoppe
The Wine Shoppe, located near the beautiful Castle Heights neighborhood on Austin Avenue, is a lovely place to end the day. It’s not your average wine bar. In fact, it is a quaint tasting room that offers imported wines directly from small, family-owned vineyards in Spain, Uruguay and Italy, as well as other countries. You will not find your average labels here and that makes this wine bar special.
The shoppe offers two to three bottles, of their choice, open for you to taste.
While tasting the wines, the sommelier, a wine expert, is available for you can ask questions about the region, the blend, or any wine question you may be curious about. They are there for your pleasure and you do not, in any way, feel unknowledgeable about wine. After you have chosen your favorite, you may purchase a glass and enjoy it at the bar, on the beautiful gold couch, or you can take your wine outside on their patio, looking across the street at one of Waco’s historical homes, The Cooper House.
While relaxing you will enjoy jazz from a vinyl being played on a record player.
The Shoppe is also a wine store, hence the name, and full bottles are always available for purchase. David Mayfield opened the shoppe and tasting room, in 2012, after years of selling the specially chosen wines to restaurants and shops.
The décor has to be the best out of the three. The chalk board, the industrial feel, open shelving, the Edison bulbs–all lend to a rustic vibe at the bar that you will enjoy. And then there is the couch. The couch is a character in the room.
At the Wine Shoppe, there is no menu to read. It is simply wine. On Fridays and Saturdays, they offer a complimentary and impressive apertivo. The Wine Shoppe, located at 1800 Austin Avenue, is open Wednesday through Saturday, from 12:00 p.m. to -7:00 p.m.
Klassy Glass Wine Bar & Bistro
Klassy Glass Wine Bar & Bistro, located in the heart of historic downtown Waco, on Austin Avenue, is across from The Hippodrome and located near a few other restaurants and bars.
This wine bar was originally a children’s shoe store called Red Goose Shoes and has memorabilia from days gone by. The bistro is comfortable and cozy with both tables and areas with couches for a more relaxed atmosphere. There are even a few bistro tables outside if you prefer a sidewalk café feel. The wine bar combines downtown dining and a great place to meet friends and is walkable from all the shopping downtown, including Magnolia Market. Klassy Glass offers a casual menu, including cheese and fruit trays that accompany the wine and enhance your palate.
Open Monday through Thursday, from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m., Saturday from 5:00 p.m. to 11:50. Closed on Sundays.
The wine ranges in price, per glass or by the bottle. Klassy Glass has approximately 50 different types of wines-red, white, rose and bubbly from many different regions and countries. They also serve about 20 different varieties of beer and ales.
The Grape Wine Bar and Bistro
The Grape Wine Bar and Bistro, located in the Ridgewood Village Shopping Center, off Valley Mills Drive and Cobbs, is a lovely option for meeting friends before dinner, or perhaps for dinner at the wine bar.
The website states, ”We are a wine bar with food; not a restaurant with wine.”
The Grape offers an extensive selection of wines from around the world and gourmet hand-prepared appetizers, entrees and desserts, often locally sourced.
The menu varies daily according to the in-house chef but always offers a cheese platter. The wine prices vary by the glass or bottle. Wines per glass start at $5 for the house wine and extend to $160 for a bottle of a fine Cabernet. Our bistro menu changes daily as Chef Jason Rolf personally selects the freshest locally available ingredients for his culinary creations.
A newly refurbished patio provides outdoor seating where you can sip a glass of wine and enjoy your dinner in an open-air environment. The Grape also has a private meeting and event room, with seating for up to 25 people.
Live music is offered every Thursday and Friday, beginning at 7 p.m. The Grape is open from 4:00 p.m. until late, (whatever that means?), Tuesday through Friday, and on Saturdays, 6:00 p.m. until late. Closed Sundays and Mondays. The kitchen is only open from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
All three wine bars are unique. All three are as lovely as a full-bodied wine and equally wonderful. Comparing the three is like comparing white wine to a red. I love them all and I know you will, as well. Grab your friends, you best gal-pal or your significant other, relax and enjoy a glass of wine. Everyday is a good day for a wine day! Chin-chin!