Since, we’re talking about wine bars this week, I thought it was only right that I review one…or two in this case. So, today on Your Glass or Mine, I’m introducing Who Poured It Best? a new series, where two wine bars go bottle to bottle to win my certified wino approval for best wine bar. Okay, maybe it’s not that serious, but I thought it would be fun to explore different wine bars in the city to see how they matched up against each other. Up this week, we have Houston’s own 13 Celsius and Camerata. Let’s see Who Poured It Best?
- Ambiance: 13 Celsius has a very intimate feel to it. It’s pretty small and cozy with bar, table and couch seating available. The dim lighting really softens the room. There’s just something about the décor that makes you feel like you’re not in Houston anymore. I’ve never been to Italy before, but I imagine 13 Celsius is very much like a café you’d find there. I’ve been during the week and on the weekend and I must say the atmosphere is pretty chill. It doesn’t get too noisy. It’s a nice getaway from the crowded bars in midtown and downtown. I definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a nice spot for date night.
- Service: This review is based on my visit last Wednesday and sadly I was disappointed with the service. First off, they didn’t have my Doctors’ Sauvignon Blanc on the menu anymore. *gasp…the devil is a liar* So, when I asked our server for other SB recommendations, she asked, “Well what do you like?” So, I responded, “I dunno, what do you recommend?” Then she came back with “Well it depends on what you like.” Grrrrrr…face palm! I can be pretty indecisive (hence the reason I’m reviewing two wine bars instead of one) and hate making decisions on the spot. I just wanted her to make a recommendation since she was the expert, but clearly she wasn’t taking into consideration that obviously I was not that advanced. When she finally made her recommendation, I felt like she was talking way over my head. Kudos to her knowing her wine ish, but I wish she would’ve explained each wine in more layman terms. Then on top of that, the service was slow and the servers weren’t good about checking on us. There were probably about ten other people in the place and it took us forever to get our wine. #nothappy
- Wine Selection: 13 has a unique selection of wine from all over the world. They normally carry a lot of wines you wouldn’t easily find in the city, which is pretty cool. However, their menu is very overwhelming. It consists of pages and pages of wines. It’s hard to make a decision if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for. I will say that I do like how the menu is broken down by wine type. At least you can find a wine that way. I tried a New Zealand and French Sauvignon Blanc and they were both pretty good. I don’t think I’ve ever had wine from France before, but I was quite pleased. Honestly, there is really isn’t a bad wine served at 13.
- Ambiance: I think it must be protocol for wine bars to have dim lighting because Camerata had the same intimate vibe to it. However, although it’s also in a small space, I found it to be more open…very inviting. Whether you’re alone, on a date, or in a group there are plenty of seating options. The décor is simple yet very chic. Whoever designed this space definitely went with the less is more model and it works. The crowd at Camerata was livelier, so I’d recommend it as more of a hangout spot with friends, rather than date spot.
- Service: The service was down right awesome! We were immediately greeted by the server with a menu and glasses of water. Our server was very friendly and knowledgeable, but not in a pretentious way. I was amazed at how he much he knew about each wine and its history. I was seriously geekin’ out at all the wine knowledge he was sharing with us. I could’ve sat there for hours listening to him. Plus, I appreciated that he asked us questions about our wine history to offer us new recommendations. He even challenged us to step out of our comfort zones to try new wines. All of his recommendations were spot on! I also appreciate that he allowed us to sample the wine before we decided to buy it. You know I was lovin’ that ;)
- Wine Selection: Camerata’s menu isn’t as extensive as 13’s, but I feel like their wine selection is very well thought out and speaks for itself. I thought that it was interesting that their main offerings on the menu change weekly. I love how they’re always introducing new wines to their customers.
So, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to determine who poured it best! Sorry, 13 Celsius, but there is a new sheriff in town. Camerata is my new favorite wine bar in the city! It definitely has that Cheers appeal where I want everyone to know my name when I walk in.
Good customer service is everything these days. Both 13 and Camerata offer amazing wines and their staffs are clearly experts, but the staff at Camerata goes that extra mile to educate their customers and I really appreciate that. So, if you live in Houston or are visiting, check both wine bars out and let me know what you think.
Next week, I’ll return to my normal #WineWednesday reviews. Until then…