Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A fine wine bar in Chicago

Most of Saturday was taken up with chores, so I really wanted to relax and unwind somewhere in Chicago. My husband had been here with friends a good few years ago, and he was impressed. So we decided to check it out.

Webster's is located on a street which lends its name to this cozy and stylish nightspot. It is not pretentious at all. The clientele seem to mainly in the late 20s to 30s bracket. Most of the revelers appear to be close buddies, but this wine bar is romantic enough and couple-friendly.

Get there late (I mean late; we arrived at 11:30) and you might just save yourself the $10 by parking yourself further down the street. There is some construction work going on around the bar right now, but you forget that once you're in.

I just love ambient lighting, and Webster's scores big points for me in this area. The whole places buzzes with intense conversation and Brazilian music in the foreground. It is packed. As there is a (delectable) food menu, there are regular tables, but you can opt to sit at the bar (which we did) and check out the competition.

This bar is serious about its wines. And so it should be, for being Chicago's oldest wine bar. The wine list as extensive as it is distinctive. The Lebanese Red and the Argentinian Chardonnay are some of the current highlights that I really enjoyed. Go for a glass, share a bottle, or select the tasting option. A glass is roughly $7, a tasting portion $3.

The food is exquisite and certainly complement the fine wines on offer. Our selection of olive and fig tapenade on crispy and thinly sliced baguettes, almonds enclosed within succulent dates wrapped in bacon hit the spot. Each of these appetizers was a very reasonable $5. We then proceeded to sample one of their famous cheese plates (of which there are many). By then we had ordered a glass of 20 year-old port which was excellent, and what could go better with port than mature and creamy English Stilton, served with red seedless grapes and a warm mini-baguette? Simply delightful.

Webster's hold one or more tasting sessions every month, and you can get more information form their website. I plan to visit one soon and tell you all about it. In the meantime, if you have been to Webster's or any other wine bar which made an impression on you, why not tell me about it here? I am glad I made this little Chicago discovery, and would love to hear about some other hidden gems from anywhere in the world.

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