Splash Wine Lounge is a little place tucked into the ever-busy University Avenue, in the heart of North Park. It’s easy to pass it by with its nondescript awning. A warm, cozy feeling emanates from the lounge from the moment you walk in as you look around at the wall of plush couches against one wall and a small tables with high backed chairs on the other. The glow of wine stations beckons you to come and try wine at your will, allowing you to sample what you like with their DIY setup card system.
I came here last month with my friend, Heather. My friend, Laura, joined us a bit later in the evening. I had a coupon from LivingSocial for this particular visit, which gave us about $40 to spend on food and drinks.
Here’s a shot of one of the stations for red wine. They had three of these setups for red wine and along the wall in the back that had white wines (that’s where I spent all of my time). You get an electronic card and put money onto the card to be used at each station. You slip your card in (and leave it in) while you select your wine. Press a button and a “splash” of wine comes out. Each wine has a different price and it allows you to try quite a variety of wines for a low price. The cheapest one I tried was $.99 cents and mostly I got splashes in the $1.50-$2.00 range.
We all enjoyed being able to pick and choose our own wines – reading the little descriptions to try and figure out if it would be something we’d dig. Above is our “splashes” of wine – one little serving each. Since I’m not a big wine drinker anyway, this was a pretty good amount for me. I can’t remember what I tried – I know the first thing I tried was my favorite and it was some kind of Australian moscato white wine, but beyond that, I don’t remember.
This is one of the food items we ordered – the Cheese Plate ($10). It came with (from top, l-r): Smoked Gouda, Manchego, Brie, and Blue Cheese plus a little cluster of grapes and some crusty bread. I really, really liked the bread we got. So much so that after we had been there for awhile, I asked one of the workers (they didn’t really have waitresses) if we could pretty please have another bowl of bread and she brought it out to us – yay!
I loved their included cheeses. The brie was probably my favorite – I love soft, creamy cheeses. The blue cheese also was surprisingly good to me – usually I find it too much too strong, but this variety of blue cheese was not too strong or too bold like a lot of blue cheeses are. It was slightly milder with a nice creaminess to it. It tasted really good with a grape after it and a sip of wine. I wished there had been honey or honeycomb to go with it (or more grapes) for a bit of the salty-sweet combination. The smoked gouda had a nice added flavor and the manchego was also good, I just don’t remember a lot about it…
We also ordered and shared the White Splash Special Flatbread Pizza ($12). This pizza has pesto sauce, chicken, parmesan, garlic, artichokes topped with fresh tomatoes & mozzarella – though we asked for it to not have the extra artichokes on top. The lady at the counter/bar though said they use a particular spread for the pizza that has artichoke in it, which was fine with me, but I was glad she informed us of that. The flatbread pizzas take some time to make – which gave us plenty of time to sample a few wines and polish off our cheese plate before it arrived, pipping hot and ready for eating. It was quite tasty with all of its melting and oozing cheese and plenty big enough for a few people to share.
All in all, Splash Wine Lounge is a nice, relaxing place to hang out with a few friends after a long day (or week) and try a few wines and kick back. We enjoyed the atmosphere of the lounge and appreciated how kick back it was. No one really bothers you and you’re allowed to go at your own pace and stay as long as you’d like. Totally cozy and inviting!
On Wednesdays, they host a “$3 Menu” with a variety of foods available for $3 and select house wines for $3 a glass as well as happy hour from 4-6PM and all day Sunday – a great way to try this place out!
Splash Wine Lounge
3043 University Ave.
San Diego CA
As an aside, I’ve been lost and dragged into reading the Mortal Instruments trilogy for about a week and before I knew it, I was a bit backed up in my blogging. I’m just going to gush for a second though and say that even though it’s a total guilty-pleasure kind of thing, I absolutely loved the series. I get sucked into these kind of things easily. Also: I like it more than Twilight. The end.