Ever since Vini Culture Wine Bar & Cafe opened a few years ago, it has been one of my favorite downtown spots. From the window seats (which are perfect for people watching) to the dog-friendly outdoor seating, it didn’t take long for me to fall in love!
Vini is home to Frederick’s first enomatic wine machines. These machines pour wine by the taste, half-glass, or full-glass. To use the machines, customers purchase a reloadable card for an initial amount of at least $20. After a card has been loaded once, customers can reload the card at a dollar amount of their choice. Customers insert the card into the machine, press a button, and the machine dispenses the wine. Vini rotates their wines available in the machines on a quarterly basis, with 16 red wines and 16 white, rose, and reserve red available at all times. The wines represent both new world and old world styles, along with unusual varieties. Many wines come from small, boutique wineries from around the world, and represent all price points giving customers a plethora of options.
If you would rather skip the machine, wine is available by the glass or bottle at the bar. These wines are different than the wines available in the machines. In addition to red and white wine, they have rose, sparkling wine, and desert wine options available. Also, don’t forget to ask about their rotating selection of local wines they have available by the bottle.
Not into wine? Vini has beer on tap, frequently featuring local breweries! They also have tap takeovers, where local breweries come in and pour their beers.
Vini’s happy hour is also one of my favorites as far as downtown goes! They have $5 select glasses of wine, $2 off draft beers, and food specials as well.
Vini has tons of fun events, including wine education classes, local winery tastings, and live music on Fridays and Saturdays. You can always check their website or their Facebook page for upcoming events. One extremely popular event has been their Wine Ice Cream Tastings, where customers can sample some of Mercer’s Wine Ice Cream flavors. Wine and ice cream? Sign me up! I’m hoping they have another tasting event, because we sampled a few flavors on our last visit and they were SO good. Both the Chocolate Cabernet and the Strawberry Sparkling were to die for.
Now to the food. Vini has a menu, full of fresh food options, all which are made in house! Their “shareables” menu includes a cheese board, charcuterie, dips, baked brie, and more. They offer salads (the Sweet Pear is one of my favorites!), as well as flatbreads, sandwiches, and gourmet grilled cheeses. Yes…you read that right. Gourmet grilled cheeses. I would highly recommend the Wine Grilled Cheese, which consists of cheddar, brie, caramelized onions, and a red wine reduction. Need I say more? SO. GOOD.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out Vini downtown yet, make it a point to do so! The variety of options they offer across the board, from their wine, to the food, to the events they host, ensures there’s something for everyone to enjoy!