Sunday, November 2, 2008

Domaine Bar a Vins


50-04 Vernon Boulevard
Long Island City, NY
(718) 784-2350

Back in September, I wrote a review about Manducatis Rustica, an Italian restaurant that had just opened in Long Island City. One of my readers, Ciprian, left a comment on that review and invited me to stop by Domaine Bar a Vins, a cozy little wine bar near the Vernon-Jackson stop of the 7-train. After several failed attempts to visit the wine bar, I finally managed to go with some friends - Lauren, Candice, and Lori - last week.

Lauren and I arrived first (we weren't sure whether Candice and Lori would be able to join us), and when we opened the door, we were a little skeptical. At eight o'clock, the place was nearly completely empty. I say "nearly" because there was one other patron there, who turned out to be the piano player, when we arrived. Thankfully, more and more people eventually came in, and before we knew it, the place was full.




The selection of wines was pretty impressive. I ordered a glass of Pinot Grigio ($8) while Lauren ordered a glass of red. (I know, I know, I'm sorry. I should have paid more attention and should have written down exactly what we ordered. But I was too wrapped up in good conversation!) Although Domaine Bar a Vins features a raw bar and a limited menu of appetizers, we opted against food. By the time Candice and Lori showed up, Lauren and I were about halfway through our wine. Had we known that the bartender/waiter wouldn't return to our table to see if we wanted more wine, we would have ordered another glass when he was taking Candice and Lori's orders.

We all appreciated the fact that it was easy to have a conversation in the wine bar without having to shout at each other. Sure, there was live music, and the pianist did get into it every now and then, but we never found ourselves saying, "What? I didn't hear you." If you're looking for a bar that will allow you to talk to your friends or to your date, I'd recommend Domaine Bar a Vins. With that said, you'll have to be okay with so-so service.

I mentioned earlier that we barely saw the bartender/waiter. When Candice accidentally knocked over her glass of wine, spilling some of it on the table and some of it on Lori, he was more concerned about wiping down the table than he was about giving Lori something to wipe the wine off her bag. He actually wiped down the table, went behind the bar for another towel, and then took care of Lori. Seemed to us that he had his priorities backwards and he should have seen to the well-being of the patron before that of the furniture.

Yes, we had some ups-and-downs with our trip to Domaine Bar a Vins, but I know we all had a good time. I'm sure I'll be back there in the future, since it's so close to And, the wine bar is in a very convenient location, so if you're looking for a new place to try that's "close" to Grand Central (the wine bar is one stop away on the 7), give Domaine Bar a Vins a chance.

PS. Domaine Bar a Vins only takes American Express. If you're planning on going, make sure you have the right type of plastic in your wallet or enough cash to cover your bill. If you're in a pinch, there's an ATM right across the street in the E & I Deli and they're open late.

* As my review of the Domaine Bar a Vins hits the Internet, I am sorry to report that the link for their official website does not work. I apologize if you experience problems with trying to reach their website and hope it is fixed soon.


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4 comments:

Sue said...

It's great that you could actually talk without the music being too loud. But only taking American Express is really weird. And inattentive staff is annoying. Maybe sitting at the bar (but that's hard with 4 people) would be a better idea there.

Michelle said...

Sue - The volume of the music was definitely a plus. I hate having to shout to my friends in order to talk to them. I think Domaine Bar a Vins struck a nice balance with the music.

In most of the reviews of the wine bar, I only found that they accepted "major credit cards," so I was surprised when we were told "only American Express." Then we I looked back at the reviews, including their Zagat profile, I saw that they were at least a year old. Major something changed between then and now that made the management decide to only accept American Express.

Sitting at the bar may have been the better way to go, but it was just two of us at the start of the evening. A little awkward when there were only two other people in the whole place, the bartender and the piano player! Let's see how it goes next time. :-)

Veronica said...

Good to know that they only take american express. How inconvenient tho.

I've never been to a wine bar. I don't live in the best city for that anyways. Maybe when I move,I can find one.

Michelle said...

Veronica - I don't think I've been anywhere that only takes American Express. At first Lauren and I thought he was kidding, but then we realized, after about 30 seconds, that he wasn't and that we were going to have to go to that ATM in E & I Deli! We both left to get the cash, and I was surprised that he let both of us go. I bet he thought he'd never see us again!

You mentioned you might look for a wine bar when you move. Are you planning on moving in the near future?