In three words: Stylish, Knowledgeable, Exciting
The Lowdown: It’s no secret that Bathonians enjoy a tipple – elbow through the standard chain establishments and you’ll find a number of lovely rustic pubs filled with broad Somerset accents, as well as the occasional sleek or surprising cocktail bar for those a little more adventurous. But now a new player has entered the game – one that treads the line perfectly between swanky wine bar, inventive cocktail den, and chilled spot to catch up with friends.
The door proclaims, in stylish gold, that this is a place for ‘Fine Wine, Cocktails and Good Food’, and this pretty much sets the standard. The wine menu is incredible, comprehensive, and embraces a wealth of varieties. Think you like Syrah? The bartenders might recommend a Plavec Mali from Croatia – it’s slightly more fruit driven, has a real rumbustiousness about it, and is sure to be a new fave. Tried a wine from the States? Why not go for the Sanford Chardonnay from Santa Barbra. You won’t be disappointed. Wine connoisseurs will be thrilled to see the presence of a Louis Jadot Macon Villages since it’s very rare to see a Macon by the glass, and they even have a Chateau Musar from Lebanon, which is a steal at only £35!
This is one of the best things about Vino Vino – the sheer range and the pricing points, allowing you to be experimental with tipples you might not have gone for before.
Your Plus One: Bring a friend who thinks that good wines need to cost the earth, or that a cocktail is one of those sorry excuses for vodka and fruit juice that the more chaotic chain bars of the area serve up. Their mind will be blown by the quality on offer here.
The Decor: Smart and sleek, with just enough design acumen to make it fashionable, but not overly styled. It’s the George Clooney of bars – smooth, sophisticated, and yet not trying too hard. From the light wood tables to the dark leather bar stools, the exposed industrial piping and classic white tiles, then it’s all about a certain continental elegance. In the summer the outside terrace is going to be incredibly popular.
Ambience: The guys at Vino Vino know what they’re doing, that’s for sure, and as soon as you enter then it’s obvious you are in safe hands. There’s a chilled out vibe to the place that belies a very serious dedication to fine drinking.
Cocktail Highlights: The whole menu is an adventure into Snazzed Up Classics. Their star libation has to be the Apple Smoked Negroni – arriving like liquid amber, the colour of a perfect sunset, it’s set off by a mist of smoked applewood chips that brings a new dimension and theatre to the drink. The taste has all the herbaceous pow of your classic, but that smoke – you know the glorious smell of lighting a fresh match on an autumn day? It’s the taste of that.
The New York Sour is made the original way, with a splash of red wine added at the end, and is punchy, sharp, with that luscious velvety texture, while the Aviation is glorious and perky – a taste bud tingling mixture of Parma Violet infused Langley’s Gin, Maraschino and Lemon Juice. We also loved the Our Boy Blue – arriving in a tin mug and looking very pretty, it was incredibly fresh, and had a delicious smack of blueberry that merged with the bourbon better than we could have imagined. For future drinking, we can’t wait to try the Sangria Blanco and the Tawny and Tonic.
Something to Soak Up the Booze: The nibbles here shouldn’t be missed, and grazing is the best way to do it. Enter that staple of the bar scene, the Sharing Board. Whether it’s cheese, charcuterie or seafood that you’re after, the range is brilliant and there are lots of local suppliers on the list. Bread is made courtesy of Thoughtful Bread Co not a stones throw away, and one HAS to try the crispy salt and pepper squid. It was mind-blowingly good.
Burning a Hole? Every cocktail on the menu is under £10, with many hovering at the £8.50 mark, which in London, would be unimaginable. This is to Bath’s benefit though, and the wines are fabulously priced.
Overall: In a city that is not overly large, it seems Vino Vino has still managed to find a niche to fill. It has the appearance of being a relaxed and informal space to spend an afternoon or evening, but boy, are they serious about what they’re delivering. Whether it’s wine, nibbles or cocktails you desire then this will be a firm favourite. We can see Vino Vino earning a fine reputation for those that want to come and appreciate fabulous quality without busting the bank.