Well after hearing some less than encouraging thins we decided against Spread on Friday night. I have since heard some good reviews however, with the consensus that you should go there 'at least once' and so we have put it at the top of our list.
Friday night we instead headed out to wander Hillcrest. We had a coupon for Bamboo Lounge that promised $15 off a bottle of wine. This seemed a little too good to be true, paticuarly when we entered the bar and found the menu to range from $16-$40 a bottle.
The bar is attractively decorated with its bamboo theme. It was unhappy deserted however, not adding much to the atmosphere. Still rather than brace the oppressive crowds at Wine Steal we decided to stay and use our coupon. Checking to see if it was valid we were informed that there had been a misprint-print. The server told us that in fact the coupon should have read $1.50 off. Hmmmmm I doubt that, $1.50 would have been a joke. I imagine it was intentioned to read $5 and they were trying to ease our disappointment. In true appeasing style they offered us $5 off the bottle, a free cheese plate and a seat in the VIP lounge (a couple of leather couches in the corner LOL!).
Still, the server was very courteous and our wine was not bad. The cheese plate being n more than a few slices of cheddar and some crackers we also ordered the bruschetta. This came in two parts, regular bruschetta and some flat bread with an artichoke spread. The spread was fantastic definitely the highlight.
I can understand why people prefer wine steals- better wine, better cheese, knowledgeable staff and a buzzing atmosphere. However the availability of a place to sit down ad reasonable prices made bamboo quite attractive and we had a great time.
Leaving Bamboo Lounge we headed on to Wine Encounter. This is a place we had previously overlooked due to its strip mall setting. Inside however the bar was attractive enough and the wine selection really excellent. The bartender was far more knowledgeable than the staff at Bamboo and helped us pick out some great choices. The pricing here is a little expensive and none of the appertizer food sounded appealing enough for us to try.
Both bars were fun, and we had a great night. It will be interesting to see in Bamboo as the 5th or so wine bar in Hillcrest will be able to make a name for itself.