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3TWENTY WINE LOUNGE
A MID-CITY PREMIER WINE TASTING RESTAURANT

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the craziness that is Los Angeles, between countless clubs, bars and restaurants constantly opening to fit in or create a scene in order to survive customers’ short attention span, 3Twenty Wine Lounge, a charming gem on La Brea Avenue at Third Street, has carved a place into the hearts of locals as a small plates go-to place that focuses on the wine pairing experience, offering tastings of more than 50 wines by the glass.

3twenty-wine-lounge

Celebrated by L.A. Weekly as the city’s “Best Urban Wine Tasting Room,” 3Twenty Wine Lounge personalizes and demystifies the snooty wine tasting experience thanks to hands on customer service, a mix of popular and boutique wines from around the world and samplings from Enomatic wine tasting machines.

If you don’t know too much about wines, fear not; trust in owner and GM Edgar Poureshagh, a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers. Since turning his lifelong passion for wine and insatiable quest to share it with the world, Poureshagh’s 3Twenty Wine Lounge, a Mid-City family-run jewel that’s a perfect date place yet casual enough for friends to gather, has become a hotspot for the ever-evolving blend of popular and rare, small production wines he offers. A really cool feature is the two large circular Enomatic systems from Italy that let guests sample 1.75 ounce tastings (50 ml) before committing to a glass or bottle.

Fans include Yelp!—who named 3Twenty Wine Lounge the city’s Best Wine Bar/Small Plates venue, and OpenTable diners who chose the restaurant the Diner’s Choice Award for “Most Notable Wine List.”

The cozy and intimate 3Twenty Wine Lounge has between 250-300 wines on hand, with 40 of them available in the Enomatic machines (16 in each circular machine; eight in the refrigerated wall machine). At any given time, they pour from another 12 bottles behind the bar—usually sparkling and dessert wines—for a total of 52 wines available by the glass at any moment. The wine program is designed this way to ensure a continual shift in the varietals that are available to sample from the machines—which in turn allows returning patrons to try new and exciting wines each visit.  They also carry a large selection of craft and imported fine beers.

“We didn’t want to open a traditional cheesy wine bar, where the owners buy bottles for six or seven dollars and resell them to consumers for 35 dollars a bottle,” Poureshagh explains. “It bothered me that people spent so much money and didn’t get proper value. I also realized that the reason people go to wine bars as opposed to regular bars is to learn more about wines—and one of my goals is to personally educate them, to demystify the process of choosing and experiencing wines.

“The machines allow us to pour rare and exotic and hard to find wines, the kind you read about in popular wine magazines, and give our customers the opportunity to try them without spending money on a whole bottle,” Poureshagh continues. “We give out open tab cards and then at the end of your ‘excursion,’ take the card back and charge the total. Because we’re a family owned establishment, it made sense to feature primarily wines from family owned wineries.”

During our recent visit for dinner, we let Edgar pair our wines for us. We started with the delicious Baby Beet Salad with Roquefort goat cheese and candied pecans. This is an ever-so tasty starter item and is perfect for sharing if you want to try several dishes. Edgar paired it with a lovely Cremant de Borgogne - Bailly Lapierre.

While the menu is impressive, filled with wonderful selections of tapas and entrées, don’t make the mistake of skipping the incredible Truffle Fries as these bad boys are a must! Hopefully you can share them with friends instead of devouring them yourself. Pair with a nice, light white wine and you’ll be in Heaven.

Other delectable must-have dishes include the Smoked Salmon Crostinis, Tiger Prawns with Bacon and Paprika Oil (oh boy!), and the Seared Scallops in Jade Sauce. Hopefully you’re a fan of seafood as these selections are light and really wonderful. Edgar paired them with a nice glass of Francoise Chidaine Vouvray (Montlouis sur Loire) and we couldn’t have been happier.

A terrific choice is the Steamed Mussels with Garlic and Ale, which is a big and tasty dish. It’s probably too big for one person—unless you want it to be your whole meal. Kudos to Chef Nicole Ball and her kitchen for not skimping on the amount of mussels you get. This is another great choice for sharing.

If you’re looking for heartier meat dishes, go with the Skillet Steak with Blue Butter, and the Lamb Chops with Feta and Herbs, both of which are fine, filling options that go so well with Shai Cellars Cabernet/Syrah.

If you haven’t stuffed yourself and you have room for dessert, ask for the Bread Pudding if it’s available, which isn’t all the time, and pair it with the savory Gelato Ice Cream, and make your one final drink the Rosehof TBA Chardonnay. Life really doesn’t get any better.

Trust in Edgar’s experience and put yourself in his hands to craft a first rate meal. “My background in pairing food with wine as a consultant lends itself perfectly to this concept, and I love going over the pairing possibilities with patrons—whether they’re asking me or not!” the proud owner explains. “That’s one of the ways we differentiate ourselves from the typical wine bars in town. None are selecting wines the way we are and none of them give you the [true] wine pairing experience. That’s why we call ourselves a wine tasting restaurant.”

Cheers!

3Twenty Wine Lounge is located at 320 S. La Brea. Hours: Mon-Thurs 6pm to 10:30pm; Fri-Sat 6pm to 11:30pm; Sun 6pm to 10pm. To make a reservation, call 323-932-9500.

Story by Jose Martinez

Photography courtesy of 3Twenty Wine Lounge

 

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