Escape your wine comfort zone for $5 a glass at Clarendon’s Northside Social

January 30, 2013

If the usual Clarendon first-date options are looking a little been there/done that by now – and let's be honest, they probably are – then the new happy hour at Northside Social has arrived just in time.

Northside Social
The wine bar at Northside Social is lit by a large wax-cover candelabra. (Fritz Hahn for The Post).

Monday through Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m., the cozy upstairs wine bar offers five different vinos by the glass for $5 each: Two red selections, two white selections and one sparkling wine. To encourage regular visits, the happy hour wines won't be from the usual by-the-glass list, says wine bar manager Charlotte Devilliers. "I didn't want to have a pinot grigio and a chardonnay," she explains. "The idea is to get people to drink outside their comfort zone."

If you want to move beyond the usual happy hour sips without spending more, these $5 glasses are a great deal. This week, for example, the bubbly comes from Spain and the top white is an easy-sipping and flavorful cortese from Italy. The pair of reds is a rustic and old-school tempranillo and a rich, fruity barbera.

Devilliers expects to change the five wines every week or two. "I was nervous people would only want to drink things they had heard of, but people really seem to enjoy trying new wines."

The atmosphere is modern, with light colors and glossy wood, and a combination of chandeliers and a wax-cover candelabra make the bar one of the brighter wine bars I've been to in a while. The calm atmosphere is equally welcoming for date night or for a group of friends catching up over a few glasses and a plate of artisan cheeses. Just bring an open mind.

Fritz Hahn has covered bars, drinks and nightlife for the Washington Post Weekend Section since 2003, but he also writes about everything from Civil War battlefields to sailing classes. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram.
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Fritz Hahn · January 30, 2013