Last night, Baby Marley made his rounds around the table, his eyes intermittently transfixed by a glass of rosé. It was his first trip–not to a bar, Daddy told me–but to a wine bar: Bar Olivino on Fulton, in Clinton Hill. It’s a tiny spot just a few doors down from Olivino Wines (sister shop to Olivino Bed-Stuy); just large enough to accommodate two café marble tables, a 7 or 8 stool bar, one stroller…and little more. Open from noon to ten during the week, and until nine on Sunday, the bar was lined with mostly ladies by five, chatting with the seated proprietress, or quietly turning pages to Sinatra.
Rustic, cozy and bright in daylight, the interior contrasts with the busyness of Fulton outside. Brick and barn-like panels painted white, join bare bulbs, neutral grays, and walls of raw wood. The menu is equally simplistic–and affordable–offering seven whites and eight reds, ranging $5-13 per glass; beers, including Stella Atrois in the bottle, are only four.
While the list of whites didn’t let us down, the single rosé on the menu was a bit of a disappointment. Heartily poured, the Mas de Gourgonnier quenched thirst without complexity. From Provence, it’s cherry-pink in color, and forward with strawberry and cherry fruit. Described as “expressive”, it was more like “quaffable” with a lack-luster finish.
From our lovely waitress, Farrel ordered a glass of Domaine des Hautes Noelles Muscadet ($8/30), from Loire, France. Described as “minerally” (each wine comes with a single tag) the Muscadet offers so much more. Floral and minerally with green pear on the nose, it’s crisp and limey, and refreshing on the palate.
Though wanting a glass of the Muscadet for myself, I opted to peruse, and ordered some Gruner Veltliner from Berger, Austria ($8/36). Minerally and slightly effervescent, this Gruner Veltliner (producer unknown) is also citrusy with lime pith.
On a board on the wall is a list of cheeses; only four bucks a selection, and everyone actually gets a few bites. Marley, unfortunately, could only look on as we nibbled some “Barely Buzzed” from Utah, with a rind of lavender and espresso. If he only knew the pleasure, he might not have sat so contently while we whiled away some time.
I’m stepping out of town for a few weeks, and so do not expect to post. I will, however, be sampling lots of wines, taking photographs and notes. In the meantime, there’s a new feature at the top of the page, that allows you to search by neighborhood for reviews on Imbibe.
[Where: Bar Olivino, 899 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, New York, 11238]