A new Wine by One bar has just been opened!
I was lucky enough to have been invited to the pre-opening launch party last night (I believe the official launch is this evening) and I was able to have a snoop around.
At first glance, it has exactly the same fittings and oenomatic machines as the Wine by One at Vendome
. It also has over 100 wines available by the glass and the selection of wines caters to the mainstream crowd (although they do rotate fairly often.) They will also have those wines by the bottle to buy and take away, just like at Vendome.
On closer reflection, the main difference between the two Wine by Ones is the layout.
At Vendome, the room is arranged in a circle, with the tables in the middle. This gives it a very convivial feel. You may be up scouring the machines for your next tipple whilst your friends, still seated, are never more than arm-stretch away.
At the Montaigne location however, the bar is divided into two rectangular rooms. Red wines are by the entrance on the left, sweet wines on your right, but yet the whites are in the room beyond.
It struck me that this layout doesn't allow customers to circulate, nor is it particularly welcoming either at first. However, when I visited they hadn't get installed any tables or chairs so it's hard to tell how that will pan out. All I know is that as the evening last night progressed, there were a few too many people and they were naturally standing with their back to wall, but thereby blocking off the machines to any thirsty customer. For that reason, Vendome seems better set up for groups.
There are flipsides to every coin. The new premises at Montaigne have the advantage of a large room downstairs which I'm very impatient to see how that turns out. At the moment, it is completely empty, a blank canvas, but one which has huge potential. I sincerely hope they put it to good use. A lounge, a tasting room for classes, a small restaurant are all possibilities that have been muted.
Finally, the new location is a huge plus. Just off the Champs Elysées, it's perfectly central but yet it is likely to become a refuge from the hustle and bustle of the shops and far from the madding crowd. Come and see for yourselves. It is worth it.
Oh and please indulge me with just one last comment: they could do with a bigger sign over the entrance so that you don't walk past on first attempt!