“Wine is not a beverage. It’s a lifestyle.”
With its classy slogan, La Botella Republic is a trendy, new wine bar hidden on Center Street. Small and cozy, it’s the perfect location to relax, chat with friends or go on a date. But at first look, it seems like any other wine bar — raucous and busy. It was 10 p.m., and the well lit, 33-seat bar had only a few seats left. I settled on a spot at the end of the counter and immediately thought it would be difficult to converse over the loud chatter and background noise. But I’d made too quick of a judgment. The bar’s small size produced a surprising intimacy amidst all the chatter, making it easy to tune out the noise and lose myself in conversation.
La Botella Republic features Northern Californian wines, beers and meads that can be paired with small American dishes. The owners, Christopher Clark and Lauren-Brody Clark, use their past experiences working at the Food Network and the Bottle Shop to choose wines and beers from smaller, just-emerging producers, such as Idlewild, Horse and Plow, Bear Republic and KneeDeep.
As in any good wine bar, the food must pair well with the wine and beer offered, and La Botella Republic definitely emphasizes that. They host weekly pop-up dinners that feature a delicious pairing of food and drink — such as Taco Tuesdays with cochinita pibil, lime-marinated sole ceviche and strawberry-nectarine sangria — and they do not disappoint. Salads, paninis and desserts such as Vice Chocolates truffles and vanilla bean panna cotta with wine soaked strawberries add to the well rounded menu with mouthwatering selections.
A common table, wine-themed sugar skull mural and window seating give the wine bar an intimate and friendly atmosphere. Little additions count for a lot, and it seems to me that this is why La Botella Republic stands out among other wine bars. It’s certainly refreshing to have access to a bar that’s very unique from the typical college-student fare, such as Kip’s, Pappy’s and Thalassa.
After taking in the full range of their wine and beer selections as well as delicious food choices, I decided to try a goat cheese and fruit plate with a glass of 2011 Hagafen Riesling. As the night went on, I also tried a 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa, chardonnay and, just for the name, a sip of the Sexual Chocolate red wine blend. The wines and cheese paired excellently, and two hours later, I left very happy and satisfied. La Botella Republic is perfect for those who appreciate or want to appreciate wine and beer and spoil their taste buds.