Splash Wine Bar – A Unique Wine Lounge in North Park

December 14, 2011

Unlike traditional wine bars, samplings at Splash Wine Bar in North Park are ultra casual - self-serve from one of the three centric red wine Enomatic wine dispensing systems (maintained at approximately 57 degrees), or from the back side bar featuring chilled white wines (a refreshing 47 degrees).

Before we start, let me tell you a little bit about this futuristic machine that makes Splash so extraordinary: Enomatic is an Italian-made wine preservation and serving system that uses inert gas to displace the air in open bottles of wine and preserves the wine for up to thirty days.  The enomatics at Splash have automated portion controlled pouring (one ounce a shot, ranging from $0.99 - $6.00/ounce) so that you may self-pour whichever splash your heart desires, allowing you the freedom to walk around, read about the different vintages, and choose your own flights by inserting your prepaid smart card (Splash Card) into the dispensing machine.  Some of the prices per ounce of wine seem excessive, but keep in mind that the higher price tastes are for wines that cost in excess of $200.00 per bottle.  Cheers to a simple and unpretentious way to expand wine culture and education!

We nonchalantly strolled around, scanning the descriptive labels, and indiscriminately tasting all sorts of delightful reds.  We opted to try the employee picks and found the Gran Cuvee William Fevre Cab (2007) to be pleasantly sweet and smoky.  The Opolo Tempranillo Paso Robles (2007) had a lovely nose of herbs and cherries, followed by bold flavors.  The Altitude: 2401 Petite Syrah (2401 feet being the average elevation of a vineyard) was another favorite.  Since Splash is only one of thirty venues to feature the Decanter Award Winning wines, we sampled several and found them each pleasing in their own right.  One thing we found missing from the descriptions were alcohol percentages – we like to know who packs the most punch!

So, you may now take your favorite Splash, turn it into a glass, browse the art for sale on the walls, or sit back and relax in one of the varied seating settings, whether it be a high-top table for four, a romantic couch snuggle, a long bar table for socializing in large groups, or the intimate back corner bar.  Grab a board game or a book, get lost in black and white episodes of “I Love Lucy” projected on the back wall, or better yet, view a menu – the food may even outshine the wine!

Nothing goes better with wine than bread and cheese, and plenty of each we had.  The mini caprese ($5/4 piece, $1/additional piece) offers simple stacks of fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil, olive oil, and the plate’s highlight, a sweet and herby balsamic reduction.

The savory goat cheese boat, served with warm dipping bread ($7) comes with warmed goat cheese topped with olive oil, pesto, and sundried tomatoes.

The warm and melty baked brie wedge is topped with raspberry chipotle sauce and toasted pecans – also served with warm bread bits.  This sweet yet savory dish may be enjoyed as an appetizer or dessert. 

A convection oven is the only cooking mechanism used by the kitchen at Splash, so it is wondrous how innovative their menu has become.  The talk of Splash are the thin and crispy flatbread pizzas topped with varied assortments of pesto and BBQ chicken, salamis, pepperoni, feta and mozzarella – choose one of the eight artful combinations or build your own.  The standout of the evening was the ricotta and mushroom flatbread pizza, a 15” long garlic heaven, topped with mozzarella, spinach, mushrooms, creamy fresh ricotta, and drizzled with white truffle oil ($12).  

The Splash dessert selections change on a daily basis and tend to be offerings from local bake or chocolate shops, but the housemade brie apple stack has a refreshing sweetness suitable for dessert, with agave toasted pecans and grape garnishes.  Unfortunately the segmented flavors of the dish never come together, leaving you dissecting an otherwise appealing presentation.

Whether you’re out for a night on the town, a low key evening with friends, or just in the mood to try some wines, tour the world one splash at a time.  Take advantage of Happy Hours every day from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. when you’ll receive $5 with every $20 card purchase or enjoy $3 select wines and beers, as well as $5 snack items.  Two Splash Tuesday is also a great time to double your fun: all Splashes are half off.

Check out their website for many other great promotions and events!

3043 University Ave., North Park
(619) 296-0714

Mon, Sun 4 pm - 10 pm
Tue-Thu 4 pm - 11 pm
Fri-Sat 4 pm - 12 am

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