In the infinite wisdom of Birmingham’s city fathers, the upscale locale is also called A Walkable Community. However, strolling straight might be more difficult than usual when trekking to all of the impressive wine bars within; there are some rather notable ones. They receive not only the enthusiastic nod from patrons, but have also snagged some award-winning recognition overall.
Tallulah Wine Bar and Bistro offers a rousing yet still intimate atmosphere akin for mingling – among both people and food and drink. Innovative dining palates will appreciate the equally innovative wines, and the healthy, local farm-like approach to food and the complementary grape. Expect the traditional and avant garde wine flavors, supplemented by daily cheeses, and a tasting room, as well as retail shop. A 20-year-old grapevine on display originated in their Napa Valley home, transforming a humble Cabernet into a grafted Sangiovese. Tallulah, home to consistent positive customer feedback, is open six days a week from 5 p.m., at 155 S. Bates St. Call (248) 731-7066 or visit tallulahwine.com
The Townsend Hotel offers two viable wine bars. The elegant Rugby Grille sustains an extensive, award-winning wine selection, and labels the lists descriptively, with terms such as “Approachable and Bountiful Reds,” “Regal but Comfortable” and “Rich and Weighty Whites.” Providing grace and a sophisticated surrounding ambiance that is a throwback to the 1930s, Rugby’s cherry-wood walls and roaring fireplace accompany some memorable food, too. It’s taken a battery of awards, including the 2010 Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator magazine, the AAA-Four Diamond Award , and not only received the Best Restaurant in Michigan by Zagat’s Restaurant Guide, but also placed among the Guide’s Top Ten Best U.S. Restaurants .
Its Townsend counterpart is The Corner , an urban setting with active social buzz amid the marble, glass, mosaic and mahogany atmosphere. Wine by the glass or bottle is in abundance, as is the champagne that flows freely. Light fare is served, and each of these Townsend jewels is open to the public on designated days, as well as available for private parties. Both are at 100 Townsend Street, and can be reached at (248) 642-5999 or http://www.townsendhotel.com.
Since opening in 2003 as the expensive eatery, Quattro Cucina Italiana, the re-tooled in 2009 Quattro Pizzzeria & Wine Bar weighs in as a people-friendly, popular wine bar in Birmingham. Although it got good reviews initially, it now supports a more affordable menu, spread over two dining rooms, featuring brick-oven pizza creations and other dishes, generally under $15. Still holding high cuisine standards, Quattro also has a members-only downstairs club, decked out in a sparkling glass and slick black decor. More than 50 red, sparkling and white wines can be had by the glass at 203 Hamilton Row, near Old Woodward, and it’s open seven days, but with varying hours. More info is at (248) 593-6060 or http://www.quattrocucina.com/quattro.html.
A hundred wines by the glass lead the attraction at the nationally franchised Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar , the perfect reward after a day of shopping – or for a dining experience filled with high-grade prime beef and the freshest seafood. The annual choice of selecting Fleming wines is made through a combination effort of the Director of Wine Marian Jansen op de Haar and local wine managers to reflect regional tastes. That selection of 100, served by the glass – with 30 priced to sell at or less than $10 per glass – includes well-known domestic and foreign tastes, as well as boutique brands. Two-ounce samples are offered to patrons wishing to pair a perfect grape to a dinner choice. The recipient of Wine Spectator magazine’s Award of Excellence for 2008 through 2010, Fleming’s also took Wine Enthusiast magazine’s Award of Distinction in 2009 and numerous other awards. Some of their accolades resulted in one being sent to each of their operating restaurants in honor of the excellence overall. Open during the evening hours seven days a week, it is at 323 North Old Woodward. For more info: (248) 723-0134 or http://www.flemingssteakhouse.com/locations/mi/birmingham.