Friday night was the celebration for a dear friend of mine, and her turning 27 years old. We are officially mid 20's. This is nuts! Where did all the time go? I guess growing up has proved to be a good thing (call me crazy but I do not miss headgear, being 4 foot 8 when everyone else was 5 foot 5 in high school, sporting Proactiv commercial "before shot" facial skin). My point? We went to Bin 36 Cafe and had a fantastic time. I absolutely loved it. I'm going back with both big groups and small groups. I've already recommended it to a handful of wine drinking friends of mine.
Bin 36 Wine Cafe, in Wicker Park (not downtown Chicago) embraces the Type A wine drinker. They give you a special type-out of all items you are drinking. What a fantastic idea. Maybe they would have been more helpful if I did not drink too much to forget them on the table, but that's besides the point. Note to self, put them in your bag as you receive them when you visit.
An organized menu offers flights or single glasses of wine. I am not a flight drinker for some reason. I like doing single glasses. I'd rather dig my heels into a larger glass of wine instead of dabble in a smaller taste while I'm eating dinner. That having been said, after learning the menu is for a total "grazer" (me) who eats smaller portions throughout the night instead of one huge meal, I think I might end up pairing different cheeses with different wine flights in the future. Yes, I said it, I'd probably do 2 or 3 flights if I went back. They aren't overbearing and really do offer a nice collection of tastes. They even have specially paired cheese flights to coordinate with the wine flights. Fantastic. Either way you slice it, my main goal as a developing wine taster (I'm wearing training wheels still) is learning what flavors I like, what those flavors coordinate best with food-wise, and most importantly, what the names/types of those wines are I enjoy most.
The menu is comfortable and simple. From flat breads and cheeses to smaller salads and sweet items. It's pretty relaxed and easy to digest (literally and figuratively) when consuming large amounts of wine like I did which slightly inhibited my focus on actually reading the menu (I'd had a few glasses of wine by that point).
To no surprise, the "habla espanol?" section of the wine menu immediately caught my eye. No, I don't speak Spanish, I speak French and Hebrew, thank you very much (the two most UN-useful languages), but Spanish wines are my favorites, and this venue does them well. On the wine menu, Spain was described as being "super red hot in the world of wine"and I completely agree. As we made our way out of the restaurant, I actually purchased a Syrah bottle on the way out and threw it into my purse (lesson #1, buy purses large enough to carry wine bottles in them) and ran to catch up with my friends. Name and Year: 2001 Syrah, Arrowood, "Grand Archer," Sonoma, CA - Medium bodied with smokey dark fruit, hints of black pepper and leather. Best wine ever.
I'm looking forward to venturing back to this cute little spot before the weather gets cold. There are large glass doors that open up to the front sidewalk onto Milwaukee Avenue. And by the way, the waiters are wonderful, patient, helpful, and will help to make your experience lovely (and drunk).
Click Here to View Bin Wine Cafe Menu