Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to locate the door marked 306 A. It’s a rather unassuming door in an area of downtown filled with eateries born of Dallas strip malls and steakhouses that require a corporate expense account. Don’t succumb to these distractions. Be strong. Be determined. Continue on your quest to find this door. The riches that await you behind the portal marked 306 A are some of the finest around. And by riches, I mean wine… Lots and lots and lots of glorious wine!
Upon entering, a short descent leads to a dark, underground chamber illuminated only by the warm glow of crimson walls reflecting the light of several antique chandeliers. As the door closes behind you, the clamor of downtown fades, and new sounds begin to emerge. The echo of a popped cork reverberates through the cavernous space. The faint chime of clinking glasses rings out from a dim alcove, yet you still can’t quite make anything out as your eyes adjust to the darkness. After a few seconds, your senses acclimate to this new atmosphere, and you tune in to the buzzing energy around you: honest conversation, intimate laughter, and the glug-glugging of wine as it’s poured from the bottle. Welcome to the Red Room Lounge.
Owner Alex Andrawes opened the Red Room Lounge in May 2012. What started as base camp for his business Personal Wine, which specializes in high-end customized wine, has become a communal living room of sorts where sommeliers, wine connoisseurs, and the everyday oenophile (like myself) can rub shoulders and sip a glass or four. Andrawes and team have hand-selected a collection from around the world, ranging from the traditional to esoteric and including just about every price point. Alongside their robust inventory of bottles (which is sold retail) is a by-the-glass list, with a rotating selection of eight to 10 wines. They are curated by resident sommelier and general manager, Joelle Cousins, who recently was named Texas’s Best Sommelier at this year’s TEXSOM, one of the world’s most prominent wine education conferences. On a recent visit to Red Room, she was pouring a 2013 Domaine Houchart Cotes de Provence Rosé that is absolutely not to be missed. With notes of fresh berries on the nose, it’s light and lively and a great way to take the edge off a hot afternoon. If rosé isn’t your thing, she is sure to help find a wine suited to your taste.
Each visit to Red Room has proven to be as fascinating and informative as the first, mostly because it’s always so easy to jump into down-to-earth conversation with both the knowledgeable staff and customers. In fact, much of what I’ve come to know about wine has been through sipping (read: drinking) and the resulting interactions behind the door marked 306 A. It’s not often I leave a lounge feeling a smarter man, so, thank you, Red Room.
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