In a different time and a different place, women would gather at some central location to discuss their problems with the village elder. This wise old woman with crinkly skin, sagging eyes and a tuft of white hair would listen, consider and diffuse the angst-ridden situation through her prophetic words and her calming ways. Here in SF, that woman doesn’t exist. Fortunately, we have each other and an inordinate number of wines to get us through.
While there is no indication that Vin Debut was intended to be a women’s club, if you stop by on a weekday evening it’s clear that this wine swilling clientele is more than happy to be their target market. I could go into the fantastic selections of wine that they offer or I could even riff on the tasty small plates, flatbreads and appetizers that they serve. But here’s the thing. It’s the atmosphere that they nailed.
Re-opened in December after a fire in the building had put Vin Debut out of commission for several years, the owners clearly gave thought to their design. A space that originally spoke to serious wine connoisseurs alone, morphed into a tasting bar with universal appeal.
West Portal finally has a spacious, clean, well-lit (and by that I mean dim), comfortable place for gossiping with the gals. Sure, I’ve seen a date night or two. (And, gentlemen, that warms our hearts, so keep at it!) However, on the occasions that I’ve gone, the bulk of the customers have been women. GNOs. Mom’s Night Outs. Call ‘em what you will, ‘cause they’ll keep coming back no matter what.
Don’t believe me? Well, last week when I set up shop with my Miraloma moms the place looked like a school fair. There were 4 distinct groups that turned out to represent Lakeside Preschool, Brandeis Hillel Day School, St. Cecilia’s and St. Ignatius. While on one side of the room, some young mommies were lamenting over lost night’s sleep others were debating if there were enough arts programs at their school. Auction committees were formed. Puberty, drugs, screen time were discussed.
It sounds so trivial, and sometimes it is. But it’s times like these, without the pressure of deadlines, that we develop connections, create community and grow in unexpected ways. Do we have a tried and true source for all the answers? No. But with Vin Debut in our midst, we turn to each other and a fruit forward pinot for a hint of truth and a laugh or two. And not-so-surprisingly, it seems to work.
Vin Debut 9 West Portal Ave, San Francisco, CA 94127 415-987-0414