Recently I found myself in the capital of the United States for a week and decided to find the best places for a nice, refreshing glass of wine.  After all, what could possibly be the harm in that?  What I discovered was that the best places were not actually in downtown Washington, but on the outskirts.  The friendliest area with the nicest little wine spots I found was Bethesda Maryland.  I was actually staying in Bethesda just outside the metro, but didn’t discover the wonderful wining and dining until my last day.

City Spotlight Washington D.C. “Kinda”

As I’m walking through this nice little town I passed a very popular restaurant with big windows.  I couldn’t help but notice everyone had a big glass of wine and that piqued my interest.  The name of the Spanish themed joint was Tapabar.  Fortunately for me there was one seat available at the bar, for the place was packed and it was reservations only.  So, I pulled my belly up to the bar and took a look at the wine menu.  Much to my delight, it was a very nice and reasonably priced selection.  I started with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc produced by Mania (which I pronounced incorrectly upon ordering).  It was a very delightful, high acid wine with strong flavors of grapefruit.  Next up was Bodegas Muga which composed of 70% Tempranillo, 20% garnacha, 10% mazuelo and graciano.  This was a delicious bold wine that would pair very well with full flavored meats.  This place definitely gets our seal of approval. You should absolutely check out their friendly staff and modern décor.

Next stop was a little place called Community Restaurant and Lounge.  From what I could gather this place was a bit new, or at least under new management.  That being said, the staff was very friendly and very eager to give me a pleasant experience.  A few notable things about this place.  First, a few funny menu entries that I can’t help but point out.  One of those was “Captain Crunch Chicken.”  It is literally chicken breaded with “Captain Crunch” breakfast cereal crumbs.  Also, the wine menu contained Boone’s Farm….at $99 a bottle.  Yes, Boone’s Farm, the sugary, usually cheap libation that is a poor college student favorite.  Just under the price in big, red, bold letters is written, “If you are buying this, it’s for sentimental value and you’d pay anything, but for you my friend, twenty bucks with the secret password.”  This was such a fun little place and I highly recommend it.  By the way, I paired my Captain Crunch Chicken with a bottle of Champagne Aubry, Premier Cru.  It was delicious.

So, if you are ever in D.C. be sure to head outside the city and check out Bethesda.  Nice people, tasty food and good wine. 

Hassell L. Butcher​, Pulled Corks LLC.