Hillcrest’s Wine Bars

Once upon a time, wine was a special occasion drink, savored by the lucky few. But that was before its democratization, thanks to the popular movie, Sideways — and the emergence of the urban wine bar.

Wine bars, once found only in the great capitals of the world, are now plentiful and both the novice or the oenophile may sample wines in several welcoming atmosphere. Each serve a variety of wines for every taste and pocketbook. Nonetheless, as a wine buff once observed, life is too short to drink cheap wine.

Happily, our upscale neighborhood has more notable wine bars, in fact, than any other San Diego locale including:

Bamboo Lounge (1475 University Avenue) Great outside patio and sushi bar.

Bianco Rosso (3841 Fourth Avenue) Waiting for your table at Arrivederci? Why not enjoy some wine at Bianco Rosso? Great prices!

Jake’s on 6th (3755 Sixth Avenue) this family-owned wine bar started with a simple concept from Jake — Bring adventurous wines, amazing food and an alluring open atmosphere that everyone can enjoy.

The Wine Encounter  (690 University Avenue) This is a fun place for drinks and to chill out. They have a nice selection of wines and other drinks, and the  staff will be more than happy to help you find a special selection.

The Wine Lover (3968 Fifth Avenue), elegant and urbane, glows like a jewel box at night. Wines, available by the taste, glass or bottle, are served by its knowledgeable staff. The Wine Lover prides itself on its extensive collection of California wines and on its green and shaded patio, a refuge from cares of the workday. Wine-to-go is also available.

Wine Steals (1243 University Avenue) has the relaxed atmosphere of a wine country tasting room. This large and informal room attracts an eclectic crowd ready to experience wine from around the world. Wine is available by the taste, glass or glass and is served indoors or on their patio.

Voyou (3696 Fifth Avenue) Cute, unpretentious, teeny tiny, but delicious. Stop by the corner of Fifth & Pennsylvania for a quick trip to France.