The wine seller


Nectar offers more than wine.

When I walked into Nectar Wine Lounge early one evening, the smart, living room-like lounge area by the windowed entrance was filled with relaxed, chatting women with glasses of wine in hand. A few men sat at the aquamarine glass bar discussing wine with the bartender. I took a seat there and joined the conversation, ending up with an $11 flight of three generously poured floral white wines — two from northern Italy, one from Spain — thematically related by their weight and nose. They were delightful, almost as delightful as bartender Anton Hicks, who introduced himself as an owner. Potentially an over-the-top wine geek, Hicks saves his image by being so good at his job.

He converted me, and I returned the next night for a $14 flight of Portuguese wines — two reds with a suggestion of flab in their structure that hinted of port, paired with a crisp, fruity white.

Yes, I ate a stylish small plate there of roasted sliced duck breast ($11) on a tasty bed of pearl barley studded with orange segments, sliced grapes and pinenuts, topped with wilted arugula and a unifying drizzle of balsamic reduction. Nectar’s small kitchen turns out a handful of these mini-dishes. The cheese plate ($11) conjured the supermarket rather than artisans as it was billed, but I loved the buttery thin toasts that came with it. After several flights of wine, it was very nice to have it available.

I am looking forward to dipping into the 40 wines by the glass and the 600 wines in bottles carefully chosen by Nectar’s earnest bartender-owners. I like being in this airy, modern room, gazing at the current display of large oil paintings on the gallery-like walls. Nectar is a New Age bar. Though contemporary, all the edges, physical and psychological, are soft and non-threatening. This is an easy place to cultivate your wine palate, to sling wine talk or just to bring a friend or a date. Nectar has enough substance to appeal to the geek in all wine drinkers. I know, since I’m one of them.

Nectar Wine Lounge

Located at 3330 Steiner St. (between Chestnut and Lombard). Call (415) 345-1377. Open Monday through Thursday 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight.


Leave a Reply