Cheap Wine!

I firmly believe that every person reaches a point when their body cannot absorb even one more drop of the cheap, diluted beer that pours like water from most beer taps in town. I'll agree that it's hard to resist buying a pitcher for small change, but eventually the stomach starts to bulge a little (with a full-fledged future beer gut threatening), and it's time to tweak the drinking habits. And there's nothing that spices things up like wine. It can be sexy (think the porch scene in Sideways), it can be classy (when not being chugged from one of those tiny individual bottles), but best of all, it can be cheap and more manageable than a giant, sloshing pitcher. Plus wine is not just for romance or the late-night brokenhearted, and finally some local restaurants have realized its place in the social sphere of Seattle twentysomethings. Upon scouring Seattle for locations for this wine palate of mine, I stumbled on Fremont Classic Pizzeria & Trattoria, which offers half-price bottles on Mondays and isn't so fancy it'll break your bank account. Fremont Classic is a fixture in the neighborhood and definitely a family sort of place, which isn't really how I picture a wine night. Perhaps in my mind, drinking wine equates to a giant grape-induced frenzy of conversation and debate, when in actuality, at Classic, my companion and I sat in a booth feeling like alcoholics with our bottle of wine, while other adults responsibly sipped sodas. The food is undeniably appetizing (particularly the baked chicken and the marinara sauce), but the Rocca Delle Macie Morellino Di Scansano Campomaccione isn't only a bitch to pronounce, it also rings up at about $13, which isn't super cheap to a girl who drinks Gato Negro. Luckily, I found just the right wine night at Chez Gaudy's Tuesday night extravaganza, which bursts with the atmosphere that Fremont Classic lacks. Cozy and cramped, with walls saturated in art, tapestries, and crap, Gaudy serves its wine cheap, its appetizers warm, and its service with an actual, genuine smile. Head into the restaurant as close to 6 p.m. as possible and grab a table. Only then examine the tall case holding the various bottles of wine ($6.99 each on this very special night for bottles of assorted reds and whites) that you can snatch, scurry back to your alcove with, and open with the bottle opener conveniently waiting on your napkin. Various bowls/plates of food are set out near the wine case for your assessment, color-coded by price. The varieties of cold snacks range from creamy country cheddar dip to slices of goat cheese to hummus for $2.99 to $3.99 a plate. Waiters bring around hot dishes like veggie meatballs, creamy pasta, and teriyaki chicken. The whirlwind of tipsy conversation and laughter fills the bistro on Tuesday evenings, and fellow winos and neighbors chat between tables. The small bar is a haven for smokers and couples trying to squeeze onto the couches. Although Chez Gaudy is my preferred wine night by far, there are other notable ones running rampant in Seattle, each attracting a different crowd. Tango entices the Monday night wine crowd with a special selection of half-price bottles of wine, and the Capitol Club and Toi both reel in the Wednesday night drinkers with half-price bottles all day. So it's time to go out and embrace the purple lips and goofy smile that can only come with a good bottle of wine. Enjoy yourself, you wino you. hlogue@seattleweekly.com Fremont Classic Pizzeria & Trattoria, 4307 Fremont Ave. N., 206-548-9411, FREMONT. Chez Gaudy, 1801 Bellevue Ave., 206-329-4047, CAPITOL HILL. Capitol Club, 414 E. Pine St., 206-325-2149, CAPITOL HILL. Tango, 1100 Pike St., 206-583-0382, CAPITOL HILL. Toi, 1904 Fourth Ave., 206-267-1017, DOWNTOWN.

 
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