Story and photos by Niki D’Andrea
GWIN wins with a vast vino selection, small bites and beer.
win” is the Cornish word for wine, and GWIN Wine + Beer does its best to emulate a Cornish mine, but gussied up Scottsdale-style.
The interior is like a long and wide hallway, rendered chicly cavernous by low lighting (the small sitting area, with a chandelier of Edison bulbs hanging above it, is the most illuminated spot in the space). The bar’s wall-size chalkboards are among the most colorful and artistic in town, advertising a slew of daily specials and a small smattering of food offerings (the most substantial being a couple pasties from Cornish Pasty Co.; the rest of the food menu consists of a massive cheese board and several small bites like olives and hummus with veggies).
But people don’t really come here for the food. They come to mine the menu for wine. With a slate of 33 wines from around the world (but none, oddly, from Cornwall), GWIN gives guests a can’t-lose proposition. There’s bound to be a vino on the menu for everyone. Most of the wines hail from California, but there are a few Arizona brands on their shelves as well, including Aridus Special Red and Aridus Special White from Willcox and a rosé from Pillsbury Wine Company in Cochise County. The bottle list (19 total) boasts such fermented gems as a full-bodied Plumbjack Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley and Three Brooms Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Flights of mead (honey wine) from Superstition Meadery are also available.
The beer menu is less robust but a little more local, with five rotating taps from Wren House Brewing Company and Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. It’s rare to find drafts of the latter outside the Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. taproom and restaurant in Gilbert, so that’s pretty cool. The selection of bottles and cans is vast and includes multiple choices of craft ambers, pilsners, IPAs, Belgians, farmhouse ales, stouts, ciders, pale ales and limited-release brews like 9 Ladies Dancing from The Bruery in Placentia, California – a 750 ml bottle of kick-your-butt that packs 11.3 percent ABV and will set you back $24.
GWIN hosts several promotions in addition to its daily happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m., when guests get $2 off all glasses of wine and beer. On Tuesdays, the bar offers select $20 bottles of wine, and “Wine-Not Wednesdays” bring a bottle of wine and a baked brie for $30. There are two specials on Thursday nights: “Pasty N’ Pint,” which comes with a Cornish Pasty Co. pasty and a pint of any draft beer for $12; and “Date Night,” which gets you a charcuterie board, wine flight and dessert for $30.
There’s live music a few nights a week as well, which helps mitigate the whole “stylish mine” aesthetic. But the rustic chic look of the place is pretty perfect for sipping a brooding Bordeaux after work.