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Robert Lauriston | Dec 5, 200507:28 PM     24

Went wine bar hopping with a friend last week.

WINE Bar & Shop

As noted in a previous post this new place was opened by Hayes & Vine's last owner, Mark Dirsa, and the bar and most of the furniture are from the old Hayes Street bar.

Rotating selection of around 40 wines by the taste or glass from the larger bottle selection, plus a small selection of good bottled beer. Four-wine white and red flights change weekly, last week it was obscure Spanish whites and Parkerized syrahs from California, Australia, France, and South Africa. No kitchen, cold food only: charcuterie, cheese, vegetarian antipasto plate. Looking at my receipts I see taste prices $3.00 to $6.00; glasses are twice that. Have discovered a few new things, including Bierzo "Petalos" and Fabrique Delices smoked duck breast.

2 Embarcadero Center (Front between Sacramento & Clay)
open seven days till midnight
http://www.winebarsf.com (no info there yet)
415-391-0758

Hotel Biron

This place has been open around five years but has a pretty low profile. Doubles as an art gallery, it's a zoo on First Thursdays. Really nice atmosphere other times, very friendly place to hang out. If there were a place like this in the East Bay I'd be a regular.

Around 80 wines by the bottle, maybe 15 available by the glass (no tastes, no flights; list minus prices is online). No kitchen, cold food only: compose your own platter from a list of individually priced cold cuts, cheeses, nuts, etc. Glasses are around $9-12 and food items mostly $5 each.

45 Rose Street (down the block from Zuni)
open seven days till 2am
http://www.hotelbiron.com

Cav

Another new place, wine director is Pamela Busch, who was co-founder of Hayes & Vine. It's a restaurant rather than just a wine bar, but probably has a longer wine list, more choices by the taste or glass, and the most obscure wines: we had tastes ($3-4.50) of Austrian furmint and blaufrankish, a Turkish emir, and a Bierzo, among others.

After all that charcuterie and cheese we were craving veg so we had smelts, beet salad, brussels sprouts, and deep-fried yam sticks. Food was delicious, good portions for the price. I'm looking forward to going back with a bigger appetite.

1666 Market Street (down the block from Zuni)
Mon. - Thurs. till 11, Fri.-Sat. till midnight, closed Sun.
http://www.cavwinebar.com

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