I ended a rather dull week with a trip down the rabbit hole- a girls night out at Vin de Syrah. Located on 5th in the Gaslamp District, it’s an experience best described as Alice in Wonderland meets the Secret Garden.
It’s definitely not the kind of place you stumble into. It sits below the Melting Pot (a fondue restaurant) and has only a poster-sized sign. A burly bouncer checks IDs then you descend into a gross little subterranian area (reminiscent of a sewer) with hot air blowing and city stench. There are two graffitied doors, both bolted shut. After trying both (twice), my friend and I spun around taking stock of the situation, then looked at each other in confusion. After a moment I noticed a doorknob emerging from a wall of ivy- a cleverly camouflaged third door! Sure enough, that one wasn’t locked. A bachelorette party cheered for us when we walked in- they’d been watching us on a monitor the whole time.
Upon arrival we did a loop to survey the place. They had someone performing magic tricks and a live harpist. In the middle, a group was getting a private wine lesson. We took up residence in a booth and ordered a bottle of Cabernet and the Mixed Plate. The mixed plate arrived with 3 cheeses, 3 types of salami, cashews, fig spread, dried fruit, and olive tapenade. Dinner of champions, if you ask me!
My iPhone photos are poor due to the dim lighting, so I’m borrowing some from their website. I loved the quirky, feminine aesthetic full of interesting things to look at. After my first glass of wine I noticed a bunch of playing cards stuck to the ceiling (you can make them out in background of the picture of me above). After my second glass, I noticed a rubber snake nailed to the wall. Weird, but totally my kind of weird- and apparently I’m not the only one because the place got pretty crowded.
Honestly, even the photos from the website don’t do the place justice. The colors and textures and scale of the design made it a really fabulous, sensory-rich dining experience. The service was good, the patrons were friendly, and we had a fabulous time talking hair, make-up, and boys. I can’t wait to go back!