Downtown: The pretty little thing you see here is none other than Corkbar. Located at the base corner of the EVO lofts, it's just about ready to open its doors to the Staples Center dining scene, which is currently headlined by ESPN Zone, Palms and other big fried platter players. Corkbar won't be soft opening to the public until next week, but to tide you over until then, we spoke with managing partner Caleb Wines (yes, that is really his last name) to get a first look at the new wine bar:
The Aim: Corkbar will strive to recreate the wine tasting experience, but without the pretensions and seriousness of traditional establishments. As their website puts it, there are no dumb questions (sometime dumb people ask questions, but we digress). They are also hoping to beat the odds with their downtown location.
The Menu: More than 40 wines are available by the glass (and more by the bottle), along with a quality selection of beers on tap. Another pleasant surprise: Corkbar will offer a full lunch and dinner menu inspired by local farmer’s market fare. Caleb puts it this way: “No freezers, deep-fryers or microwaves.” The small, seasonal menu will range from cheese plates and gourmet tapenades to braised oxtail and shrimp with chorizo risotto.
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The Design: The bar has soaring high ceilings with a modern, artsy take on the requisite wine bottle display. The wrap-around space has large floor-to-ceiling windows on all sides, giving the place a casual vibe. When we visited, it was raining, but the bar’s large side patios had us wishing the sun was out.