Wine Adventure: Gig Harbor Wine Bars
Last week I suggested Blake take me on a non-negotiable date to two well known wine spots in Gig Harbor: Morso Wine Bar and Gertie and the Giant Octopus. Don't worry, it was not without the promise of popcorn and a movie.
To hopefully aid you in your next Gig Harbor, WA Wine Adventure, I will be breaking down each segment of our date into three categories. I will be looking at the establishments in regards to the atmosphere, service, and the wine selections. Experience is a big proponent for me and it starts the second I walk in the door, much like the well known caveat of a first impression.
I am looking at the decor, flow of the space, cleanliness and the interactions of the staff with the participating patrons. All of these aspects create the Mise-en-scène and in large part, decide whether or not I will go back. Overall, we had a lovely evening full of good wine, small bites and a terrible movie. I had such high hopes for you Bad Boys! But, whatcha gonna do?
MORSO WINE BAR: I have heard great things about Morso and I have been planning on visiting for a while. I have creeped on their website and watched events pass me by, waiting for the "right" time to visit. I am not sure why it has taken me so long to check out a wine bar in the prime location of Downtown Gig Harbor.
It was our plan to hit up their Happy Hour, so naturally while within the hours of happiness - we decided to purchase full priced items.
Atmosphere: As we walked into the wine bar we were immediately greeted and sat at a perfect date night table. There were not very many people there, but it was a still early in the evening. The indoor space is quite large while maintaining a warm and cozy atmosphere and the beautiful outdoor patio is surely packed over the summer time.
Even though the place was relatively empty when we arrived, we felt welcome and at home. It was the type of place where you think, I will definitely come back when... when it is warm and sunny out, when we need to meet friends or family for dinner, when we are in Gig Harbor next, or when we need more wine.
The location is amazing and it is a place where you can grab drinks before dinner or stop by after dinner. It provides an atmosphere that does not make you feel less than for only wanting a glass or two of wine. It is also the type of place that makes you change your dinner plans and that glass of wine turns into a bottle and some pizza...
Service: The staff were incredibly welcoming and attentive. Our server (kicking myself for not getting his name) was so awesome. He welcomed us to Morso and made pleasant small talk, in an attempt to get a sense of what we were looking for in our experience. We let him know we were there for the wine and perhaps a light fare.
We saw the flatbread pizzas on the menu and figured we should sample one for good measure. He very easily up sold us from the happy hour size to the full size, in the end we saved money...
When we go somewhere like this, we often like to leave our wine selections up to the pros. It is our impression and hope that they know more about the wines they are serving than we do.
When we asked him for the perfect pairing for our pizza selection, he asked what our palates preferred. Perhaps the worst response he could have received from us was that we were open to anything red. He provided us with several options within a variety of price points. We ended up with a lovely 2015 Montesecondo Chianti Classico, a delightful choice.
Throughout our time there he was attentive, yet not overbearing. The other non-serving staff also made pleasantries with us and the other patrons. It seemed as though many of them were regulars and knew the staff well. This is the type of place that makes me want to become a regular.
Wine Selection: They have a full list of whites and a full list of reds from all over the world. Which makes it easy if you are headed to the wine bar with a variety of wine drinkers. Similar to other restaurants some wines are offered by the glass and some only by the bottle. I more often than not, opt for the bottle options. They are typically marked up far less than the glass. At a restaurant a bottle of wine is often paid for by the first two glasses poured from it, sometimes even from only one glass. Plus, you can always take the bottle home if you do not finish it.
Side note: there is a beer menu for those who do not want to sip on the great grape goodness.
GERTIE AND THE GIANT OCTOPUS:. This is a really cool space that caught my eye with their artwork and play on a local engineering tragedy. For those of you who may not know, Galloping Gertie is the nickname for the bridge that has since been replaced by the Narrows. Gertie fell into the depths of the freezing Puget Sound in 1940, creating a playground of faulty architecture for the Giant Octopi that inhabit the area.
We have been here before for a quick glass of wine prior to heading to a movie next door. Our experience was so rushed we felt it was necessary to check it out again with more time to devote to the experience. At this time, it was a Birsto and Wine Bar. When we went back this last week, we found that Wine Bar had been removed from the name. This may account for why we did not receive the experience for which we were hoping.
Atmosphere: This is a very cool place and the decor reminds me of a 1940's style bar. A sign asked us to wait to be seated and we did just that. It was not too busy yet, but the tables labeled with the "reserved" signs threatened us to leave.
A staff member asked what we were there for, we replied with simply: "wine." We were sat at the bar and several other staff members fluttered around us without interaction. Unlike the warm greeting we got from the staff at Morso, we felt like intruders in their space. Gertie's quickly became packed and we sat looking at the scarce wall of wine for something to sip on.
Service: Perhaps it was an off night, but we did not feel comfortable. I felt like we were an order that they were trying to quickly get through the system. We attempted to ask about the wines they had and which were their favorites, but the question was not met with a suggestion.
We found a bottle or two on the wall that we were interested in, that were not on the printed menu. When we asked the price of the bottles on the wall, we were told to refer to the menu...it was not there. Feeling uncomfortable and not wanting to disrupt the staff, we found a wine that was both on the wall and one that was on the menu with the price.
Wine Selection: Unfortunately, there is not a very large wine selection here. Assuming they underwent a change in their business plan to focus more on their food, a small wine list would make perfect sense. I have heard the food is quite tasty and the plates we saw delivered around us looked amazing.
But... the wine list. It would not be so disappointing if the bottles displayed behind the bar matched what was on the menu and vice versa. Ultimately, we got a Côtes du Rhône that was quite delicious and listed on both the wine wall and the wine list.
We wanted so badly for this place to be THE place we would go to before or after the movies because the location is so convenient. But unfortunately, it was not what we had hoped. Blake would like to go back to try the food we have heard so much about. I just wont be pushing to go.
Bad Boys For Life: I was hoping this movie would be good because I love Martin Lawrence and the previous Bad Boys movies. But, it was a bust. Blake literally leaned over to me in the theater and said "this is a bad movie, right?" Yes, yes it is Blake.
While we had a lovely date, two of the three events I am not likely to revisit. I do not like to give negative reviews, but at the end of the night I was disappointed. I apologize if the recap of my experience has made anyone take offense. It is my intention to be honest and share my personal experience. To more Wine Adventures, Cheers!