The Tasting Room was opened by two California transplants, Toby and Lisa Devore, who moved to New Orleans and brought with them their love of good wine. It is truly a bar for oenophiles, with a thoughtfully curated wine list served in an elegant setting. The old-world feel of the space is an interesting mix of rustic refinement, and the exposed brick offers an unpolished contrast to the elegant chandeliers. Velvet chairs and leather couches call to patrons to relax and enjoy the hundreds of wines available (by the glass or bottle) while listening to the music that is never too loud to impede conversation, even when the Spanish guitar player regales patrons with his dexterous playing on Thursday nights. Curious patrons can sample $20 themed tastings or put themselves in the capable hands of a very knowledgeable staff. The wine menu is a bit pricey, with quite a few bottles over $100 and few wines by the glass under $10. But the stylish atmosphere makes it worth the rent on the chair.
The neat patio is covered, so one can sit out here in summer evenings enjoying classic movies like Casablanca projected on the brick wall. Though located on trendy Magazine Street, the Tasting Room never feels like it’s part of the “scene.” Instead, it feels intimate, and even when it fills up, the spacious room seems to expand to accommodate the crowd. I went to the Tasting Room with two wine lovers, neither of whom had been there before. Both made plans to return the following week, and did. As we polished off the last of several flights and sank back into the velvet chairs to regroup, one of them observed, “This is a really nice way to spend the night.” It is indeed.