Negroni, Dark & Stormy, Mint Julip, Salty Dog, Pimms Cup, Blood & Sand, and Sazerac. The cocktail list at Aria Wine Bar outshines the list of wines; and a sweep of the eye around the room confirms it—Sarah, Caitlin, and I seemed to be the only one’s drinking wine. A wine bar that specializes in organic and biodynamic wines or a bar that emphasizes the women behind the vine? It’s hard to tell. The space is charming, but there’s no way of knowing the intent behind Aria.
A rustic space in the West Village, with a stunning white tile bar, Aria has brick walls, exposed beams, and a bathroom with blackboards and chalk. A neighborhood spot, it fills up quick. And while the wines are served in generic rocks glasses with thick lips, they do range in price from $5 to $8 a shot. Caitlin, who came from an afternoon meeting at The Standard, was still suffering sticker shock, and so was glad to be offered a drink for five bucks. I too appreciate this option, but not if it leaves me at the end of the night wanting more.
More what? A greater selection of wines might help. (I read something somewhere about 50 bottles, but I counted 14, all available by the glass.) Wines of interest perhaps. Or, if the theme is meant to be all about the ladies, then give me their stories—their passions, their theories, their suggested pairings—anything other than just their names. We tried four wines on this night: S’Elene Vermentino 2009 Sardenia, Seven Sisters Rosé 2009 Stellenbosch, Verdemar Albariño 2009 Rias Baixas, and Astoria Pinot Noir “Caranto” 2008 Venice. None of which, unfortunately, were note worthy.
That said, the clientele didn’t seem to mind. If one views Aria as a neighborhood bar with small plates and a fun cocktail list, then she won’t be disappointed. As a wine bar? Well, I wouldn’t suggest a special trip.
[Where: Aria Wine Bar, 117 Perry Street, New York, NY 10014]