I think I met my new best friend… she just doesn’t know it yet. Rachel Jara owns Mid Town Wine Bar in Reno and is the self-proclaimed wine dealer for all her friends. She stocks them up with great new finds during school drop-off and always makes sure there’s great wine on hand. Yes, she needs to be my new best friend.
Rachel and her husband Elroy have always liked wine, and wanted to create the kind of place that they’d like to hang out themselves – a neighborhood bar with great, affordable wines and a relaxed atmosphere. With that goal in mind, Rachel quit her job and they opened Mid Town Wine Bar in October 2011.
This is not a wine-snob wine bar, although wine snobs would feel just as welcome as the average Joe thanks to Rachel’s incredible knowledge of her stock. I like to think I know a thing or two about wines, but as she described varietals I’ve never heard of with adjectives like “notes of anise,” I knew this is more than just a place to get a buzz (although their Happy Hour prices on beer and wine would certainly accomplish that!).
While we chatted, a woman came in to get a bottle of wine to drink with her girlfriend while they got their hair styled across the parking lot. Rachel poured a sample or two for the woman (who already had beautiful hair; am I the only one who waits until my roots are atrocious before going to the salon?) and suggested a robust red to tide them over until dinner. Then she opened the bottle and reminded her to take glasses if they don’t already have some.
That’s the kind of neighborhood bar this is. Do I hear the “Cheers” theme song somewhere? Speaking of music, I told Rachel I think she hijacked my iPod, because the music playing in the bar was all of my own favorites. See? We definitely should be best friends!
Rachel is mom and step-mom to five kids, and says that she understands needing a really great glass of wine after a long day. And you don’t want to waste that glass – that one precious moment of respite – on a bad wine. She tastes all the wines they stock, and her distributor has grown to know her tastes and brings her wines that you won’t find in many other places in Reno. She makes sure that the wine you’re spending your hard-earned money on is going to be good!
You can taste in flights – Rachel has combined wines by region or type – or just ask her for recommendations. Flights are all around $10, and individual glasses are $7-$12. If you’re hungry, you can order food from the neighboring restaurants. Mexican, sushi, pizza, Chinese… it all pairs well with unforgettable wine!
There are many things I love about Reno, and Mid Town Wine Bar is topping my list right now (no… that doesn’t make me a lush!). I would love to stop in on a whim to see what new finds Rachel is pouring. I would love to hang out for Tuesday Night Bingo or enjoy some live music with my glass of Carmenere (that’s a new one to me, thanks to Rachel!). So, please, go check it out and enjoy an extra glass for me!
*Note: I was invited to visit Mid Town Wine Bar by the owners, and my tasting was free. But as my mama taught me, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. And I wouldn’t write about it if I didn’t like.