Vintage 95 Wine Lounge: Happy Hour Report Card
We revisited downtown Chandler this week for happy hour at Vintage 95, a wine lounge only open for a few months.
The Hours: 4 to 6 p.m. every day, 4 p.m. to close Wednesdays
The Details: Just down the block from Urban Tea Loft and The Bistro at Kokopelli Winery, Vintage 95 offers different daily specials seven days a week, but the official "Hours of Happiness" feature $2 off all draught beers and $1 off bottles; $2 off well drinks and $1 off other spirits; and select wines for $5 a glass or $20 a bottle. There are no standard happy-hour discounts on appetizers; however, one offer invites you to order any bottle of wine off the extensive (huge!) wine list at regular price (read: not $20) and receive either a free order of Bruschetta ($12) or a Charcuterie Board ($13 - cured meats, cornichons, olives, pistachios, parmesan custard and crostini).
See how we graded this downtown Chandler wine lounge after the jump.
This angle best showcases the mozzarella, pesto, tomato, and balsamic syrup selection on our bruschetta board...
We chose this option and were steered away from the $27 Guntrum "Blue Bottle" 2009 Rheinhessen to the $34 Dr. Loosen 2010 Mosel (both Rieslings), which our server described as less acidic and sweeter. He delivered it to the table with aplomb and a presentation of "Dr. Loosen" that seemed to beg an awkward response of, "Charmed, I'm sure," as though the two of you were being introduced at a posh dinner party.
The snooty Dr. Loosen lounged in the ice bucket while we selected bruschetta from what is - without exaggeration - the tastiest list of choices we've seen this side of Postino. We went with four different creations: Mascarpone, pistachios, and date; Brie, pear, and onion jam; Fig chutney, house-made ricotta, and prosciutto; and House-made mozzarella, pesto, tomato, and balsamic syrup. Each combination of ingredients was flavorful, with moments of sweet and creamy and crunchy, but the bread beneath them was too thin - reminiscent of Wonder Bread toast points with singed corners.
...while here you can see the fig chutney, house-made ricotta, and prosciutto (though with cheeses like mascarpone and brie, it was easy to favor the two in the center).
The Interior: Vintage 95 has the feel of an old gentleman's club without the unwelcoming, oppressive bit. It's all dark, rich woods and browns with plush leather couches and chairs and a gently crackling fire. There are faux-painted walls and high ceilings, and the music plays softly enough to promote conversation. It's the kind of place that probably gets all the more magical as the sun goes down. There's also a bar area with high-top tables, and a comfortable patio looking out on the cutest section of downtown Chandler.
The Cost: Our bottle of wine plus bruschetta came out to $34 before tax and tip, and could easily be split by four people.
Rustic, warm, and plush, the Vintage 95 interior is a very inviting space in which to spend a late afternoon or evening.
The Conclusion: Vintage 95 embodies a contemporary feel of casual elegance, making it an ideal spot for a wine-centered happy hour. With an extensive list to choose from and very filling bruschetta made with fine ingredients, it's definitely a place we would return to for that time of the day when you just want to unwind.
Overall Grade: A-
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