First Look: Vino Venue, Dunwoody

The brainchild of Atlanta Wine School founder Michael Bryan, Vino Venue in Dunwoody is a new multiple choice wine bar and retail emporium that offers shopping, tasting, dining, education and entertainment under one roof.

The look: Situated in a strip center on Chamblee Dunwoody Road, next to I-285, the modern design creates several distinct environments around a large open space with a variety of seating areas. Tall banquet-style tasting tables, cozy dining nooks, a low-slung storefront lounge, and a curving wine bar are accented by wood floors, floor-to-ceiling wine racks and artistic lighting.

The scene: One recent evening, Vino Venue’s diversity was on full display. While customers shopped for wine, a small group congregated around a jovial French winemaker conducting a tasting at a table spread with plates of charcuterie and cheese. Several women joined a ladies night out event, and a few couples grabbed seats at the wine bar to sample small plates and pairings.

The menu: The small plate menu features snacks like edamame hummus with crispy ciabatta ($5), maple bacon popcorn ($6) and peppadew sweet peppers stuffed with honey goat cheese ($6). Larger offerings include wild mushroom flatbread with caramelized onions, mozzarella and parmagiano reggiano, truffle oil and fresh herbs ($9) and beef short rib with pinot grigio jus and polenta crackers ($9). Among the desserts, look for dark chocolate and orange pot de creme ($6) and apple tart ($6).

The drinks: Beyond a large list of wine by the bottle, and flights, carafes and single pours at the bar, you can opt for self-serve wines dispensed from Enomatics machines. The selection of wines by the glass totals 50 most nights. The recent craft beer list included Boulevard Tank 7 ($6), Trappistes Rochefort 10 ($9), and Samichlaus Doppelbock ($9).

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The extras: Atlanta Wine School classes continue at Vino Venue. And a new event room with a demonstration kitchen similar to Cook’s Warehouse, will host chefs and winemakers for food and wine experiences.

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