Being the twenty-something post-grad, I am always looking for a good spot to go to after work that welcomes my young demeanor without needing to maneuver through crowds of college seniors and new-grads who are looking to throw back shots any time they can. I had the chance to go to Barcelona Wine Bar in Brookline on a Monday evening, and I had quite the positive experience.
Let's talk about the atmosphere first. The lighting is dim enough to set a certain ambiance welcoming cozy conversation with your company, but not too dim where you would need to use your cell phone flash light just to see the menu. The brick walls are accompanied by chalk boards detailing various menu items and drink selections, adjacent to photographic hangings of children holding wine glasses ad cigarettes, or a close-up of an elderly woman's face. My surroundings certainly gave me something to talk about when I didn't necessarily want to talk about myself.
I sat at the corner of the bar with my friend, and as we skimmed the menu, the bartender, Wilson, immediately came over to give me a glass of red based on what I had described for my tastes. The two of us, at the recommendation of the other bartenders Adrian and Fiona, got our first round of cocktails: Summer Street Sling and Bourbon Spice Rack.
The bar staff was so informative to answer all of our questions about the menu. I had asked Wilson what was popular outside of the traditional tapas, and he suggested the Monkfish to us. We also got the Mushroom Risotto and Albondigas. I've had all sorts of seafood, but this was my first time eating Monkfish. I could see why it is called the poor man's lobster, it's so meaty and succulent - I was not disappointed. The grains of our Mushroom Risotto was cooked to a nice, tender texture, not too dry and not smothered in cream sauce. As Adrian brought out the Albondigas to us, he also brought forth a new basket of bread because the dish "doesn't count if you don't dip the bread in the sauce."
While my friend and I enjoyed our meal, we were kindly brought over a dish of broccoli. Fiona also brought out samplers of the paella to us, as well as other folks sitting around the bar - what a pleasant surprise!
My friend and I both ordered the Sangria Flora for our next round of drinks, which was so delightful with the Elderflower liqueur. Afterwards, I was deciding on what kind of wine I should drink, and Adrian suggested I have a wine flight, and he created an off-menu flight for me to be tailored towards what I may prefer. My pick of the evening was the 2002 Antonio Corpus Garnacha, yum.
We got churros with a chocolate dipping sauce for dessert, but my friend also wanted some kind of dessert beverage, too. Wilson took our dessert order, and also said they might be able to whip up an Irish Coffee of sorts. Fiona circled back a few minutes later asking my friend if she would like Baileys in her coffee, and came out with this amazing Irish Coffee. Fiona even said that she had sweetened the whip cream slightly for my friend because she noticed my friend enjoyed sweeter drinks throughout the evening.
After chatting with the manager Rob for a bit, I could see that everyone at Barcelona had a passion for being there. I occasionally looked around and eavesdropped on other tables' interactions with their servers, and from what I could hear, all positive experiences. I did not see a disgruntled expression on a single person's face within the establishment.
Barcelona Wine Bar has a versatile atmosphere. It is great for a late night snack on any day of the week, a place to catch up with friends, a first date, an anniversary - you name it. The staff is welcoming, and the noise-level never gets out of control. With the balance of good food and drinks, I would suggest that if you're looking for somewhere to go on a weeknight, Barcelona Wine Bar should be on your list.
Mon-Thurs: 4 PM - 1 AM
Friday: 4 PM - 2 AM
Saturday: 11 AM - 2 AM
Sunday: 11 AM - 1 AM
1700 Beacon Street, Brookline MA 02446