I enjoy a nice glass of wine as much as the next person. But finding a spot to get a glass or two in San Francisco without breaking the bank can be a challenge. A solution to that problem: The Barrel Room, which just opened in the old Hidden Vine space in the Fitzgerald Hotel.
The cozy spot reminds you of an old speakeasy or lounge when you walk in. It has a minimalistic design, small tables and couches and dim lighting. There is nothing fancy or snobbish about the place, which can be the norm at more upscale or swanky wine bars. But the comfortable, down-home setting really adds to the charm of the small space.
Owners/managers Sarah Trubnick and Nikki Goddard took over the spot and are very hands-on with the entire operation. They are behind the bar pouring glasses of wine, talking to customers and answering questions from beginners to oenophiles.
The first thing you notice while perusing the menu is that they really know their wine. It is filled with mostly small producers, many of which are from France. But there is also a nice selection of wines from the U.S., New Zealand, Italy and the rest of the world. They have a large number of wines by the glass and bottle. Each month, they also have a featured flight. This month, it was the wines of France. One other cool feature is the comparison section. This is where Sarah and Nikki serve up two very similar half glasses and offer it as a blind tasting, a practice that remains a tried and true part of life in the world of sommeliers.
The food portion of the menu is what you would expect to see at a wine bar with plenty of small bites. It features cheese and charcuterie options, a few appetizers like olives, almonds and pickles and handmade flatbread with different spreads. It’s a nice list of options to choose from; nothing that really fully fills your stomach, but plenty to keep the wine from taking the full effect on you.
The Barrel Room has a real neighborhood feel to it and plenty of great wines for serious and novice drinkers alike. There are also plenty of specialty nights and tastings in the works.
The Barrel Room is located at 620 Post Street inside the Fitzgerald Hotel.
Open seven days a week, Sunday-Thursday 5-12, Friday and Saturday 5-2.