Leisure Enjoyment on Main Street in Seal Beach

Sep 16, 2010 by Lindsay Pullin

I always enjoy going to a good bar and having a beer, be it cheap or chic.  But I don’t know much about wine bars other than 1) I like to drink wine 2) I don’t know enough about the wine I drink to go to a wine bar without feeling self conscious.

Luckily, the Main Street Wine Cellar on Main street in Seal Beach is a great place to start (over and over again). It’s an unpretentious, fun place to sample different wines from California. So I ventured there on Saturday afternoon to try my luck with their vino.

The bar itself is very open, spacious and filled with natural light. There’s great window views of Main Street, which is very quaint and old fashioned. All the windows slide open to get plenty of ocean air, with mirrors on the back wall to reflect the natural light.

There’s a short wine bar in the back, and a long table in the middle for groups of all sizes, with tables for small groups around the edges. 

Because the street is so visible, it’s a great place to people watch (lots of dog walkers and bicyclists). Also it feels intimate at the same time. I parked in the lot located right next to the bar, and just walked right in.

It was only about 1/3 full that afternoon, but everyone present stayed for a long time: the evidence was the numerous wine glasses on each table. I was also proof, we chilled out for a long time, lazing the Saturday afternoon away.

The wine menu changes every 3 weeks, and I recommend getting a flight (wine tasting lingo for lots of smaller glasses of wine) so you can try out as many as possible without impairing your judgment. I might as well just elaborate now, you can get flights of other things here; cheese, meat, truffles–so I guess the lesson I learned for my first wine bar trip was that less is more, eat and drink slowly and try many different things.

I tried the "Cali Coast" Pinot Noir flight, which I definitely enjoyed. Let your server help you, or at least follow their recommendations on what to drink and order, etc. I’m definitely more of a wine enjoyer than a wine connoisseur, but I was surprised that the wine list wasn’t more extensive.

In a way it made it easier for me, I wasn’t overwhelmed with choices, but I can imagine someone with more knowledge or more bravado than me feeling the pinch of a smaller selection, although with the rotation you can try something new every time.

Wednesday is Flight Night, so you can get 2 for 1 flights all night (flights are $15-$20 each and include three 3 oz glasses of your choice to try), and Friday is host to an extended happy hour (12-6pm, if you’re free all day). I hear that on weekend nights, it probably best to phone in advance for a reservation, or you might find yourself waiting longer than you’d like to.

The Saturday afternoon I was there, they were serving $5 mango mimosas (I didn’t sample them, but they sound like a good enough reason to return). Also, if someone in your group is not an oenophile, there is beer to enjoy as well.

My advice is to come early, try something new (definitely try a flight, to get the maximum amount of new wine varieties), and order the truffle popcorn, or something else delectable from their menu.

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