A good wine bar is hard to find. A good wine bar is even harder to find in Washington, DC. Sure there are a number of amazing culinary gems with rockin' wine lists in DC, yet nothing quite like the bar-a-vins of Paris.
Enter: Bar Pilar.
Located in the hoppin' 14th and U Street corridor, Bar Pilar is reminiscent of a cozy Parisian wine bistro in both atmosphere and flavor--specifically, it reminds me of a spot in Paris called L'Ecluse near the Champs Elysées (64, Rue François 1er, 75008 Paris).
From the creators of Café Saint-Ex, Bar Pilar features a daily changing menu of Italian and Spanish inspired small plates and a small, yet smart wine list, with most wines by the glass under $7.
The menu features items such as chorizo with white beans, eggplant ratatouille, potatoes sauteed in olive oil and garlic with a Moroccan paprika ailoi, seared tuna with pea shoots, and beet carpaccio with goat cheese, mint and pine nuts.
Wines at Bar Pilar are generally on the esoteric side, focusing on small, boutique Italian, French and Spanish wines, with a few domestic options and even selections from Greece and Slovenia.
Of particular interest were the Anselmi Garganega, an aromatic white with notes of white peach, citrus and rose petal; the 1+1=3 Xarel-lo, a fantastic, crisp and refreshing white made from one of the native Spanish Cava grapes; and the La Place Tannat from Southwestern France, a robust red with notes of earth, cedar and dried red fruits.
If the menu and wine list alone aren't enough to persuade a visit, certainly the photo booth at the rear of the restaurant is worth a peek--especially after a few glasses of vino.
1833 14th Street, NW
Images from www.barpilar.com