A glass of wine in the middle of the afternoon is power. It's not work, because how could slipping alcohol into your blood as the sun filters through the tall windows of the upscale chain bar be work? This is affording yourself an opportunity. It's having the money and the gall to tell yourself—and the world—that whatever productivity and responsibility awaits you on the other side can just wait until this 5-ounce pour is finished.
To me, that's the idea behind Sixty Vines, one of those chains arriving from somewhere else (this time DFW/Plano) that comes equipped with a message and a mentality. Opening in Rice Village in October, Sixty Vines is very white. Literally: The walls are whitewashed brick with absolutely no art, no decorations. The ceiling is white, sans wood paneling. It's as if, from the moment you step into the 8,700-square-foot establishment, you're supposed to exhale away whatever baggage you came with, slide into a chair at either the bar or the main dining room (or outside in a lounge chair), and let the Napa Valley absorb every part of you.
Sixty Vines has a lot of Napa on the wine list, plus Sonoma offerings, a few Tuscan blends, and a couple wild cards like a Greek white. California towers over everything, and in a neighborhood that's starting to look a hell of a lot more like the Golden State by the month thanks to other newcomers like Mendocino Farms and Sweetgreen, it's an understandable fit.
There are 53 wines on tap at any time, plus six beers and a single nitro cold brew, but I had a featured red blend from Daou, a winery in Paso Robles, California. Moderately boozy with black cherry and berry hits, it ran $12 per 5-ounce pour, and because it's a 5-ounce pour and not a 6-ouncer, Sixty Vines may be getting five glasses—and not four—out of the bottle. (The bottle would've set me back $53 at Sixty Vines, and I can find it for $25 in a local store; this is just about industry standard, maybe a touch more expensive than normal.)
The menu complements the wine—basically, it's the kind of fare you'll find at a Napa winery, from veggie-friendly sandwiches and salads to shared plates and pizzas. I had the most Napa pizza on the menu, a fig and prosciutto pie that kept a light but flavorful crust with deep blisters and balanced tangy, sweet, and salty with mozzarella and honey. My one issue was I could've used more prosciutto, but for two, it was good.
Service at Sixty Vines was friendly, though it was low-pressure, as there was barely anybody in the dining room and bar on a weekday afternoon. I imagine it fills up more around happy hour, and I'm sure the weekends are loads of fun for those who want to day-drink their cares away.
But for me on this afternoon, I was sipping a red blend, chewing on some decent pizza, and feeling all sorts of weird power. Maybe this is how it feels in Northern California. Maybe we're more like this than we want to lead on. Either way, Sixty Vines delivers it, and it's up to you whether you want to eat and drink it up.