“It’s like happy hour all day”: the Peninsula’s latest lounge pours quality wines at $7 a glass
Oh goodness, you might think, It’s not 5 p.m. In fact, it’s not even 1. Is this an appropriate time for a tipple? Don’t question it. Instead, let the glass door swing open and enter Le Plonc Wine Bar, a new addition to downtown Mountain View.
With upbeat Spanish guitar music, white Phalaenopsis orchids and a sun-soaked interior, it feels like it’s a world away. What is often treated as an elitist pursuit becomes playfully low-key at Le Plonc, which aims to share the joy of wine on more casual terms.
“A lot of the idea is to equate wine with beer, like going out for a pint with friends,” manager Hannah Kaiser says.
Essential to Le Plonc’s concept is the price point—where all wines and beers are $7, all the time.
“It’s like happy hour all day,” one server says.
You might find yourself in good company as couples canoodle at the black-marbled countertop and groups of girlfriends gather on rich, velvet couches to pore over a wine menu that invite patrons to “swirl, sniff, sip, gulp, guzzle, quaff, (and/or) blotto.”
Le Plonc opened Monday, March 19 as the passion project of three owners, including Kristian Cosentino of San Francisco’s Dirty Water Restaurant and the Rusted Mule cocktail bar.
“The idea behind Le Plonc is to make wine and the wine drinking experience really accessible,” Kaiser says. “There’s a growing curiosity about what we eat and drink. Here, you can come in and sample, and walk away with a better sense of what you like.”
While most wine menus might list a wine producer’s name, origin and year, Le Plonc’s aims to go above and beyond to break it down even further for would-be wine fans.
Newbies might choose to sip on something with “silky, thyme” or “lively, strawberry” flavors. Those who are more familiar might choose based on grape type or region. Popular on their list is the 12 e Mezzo Negroamaro, a medium-bodied red that’s “silky” with “dark berries” from Salentino, Italy.
“For this first iteration (of the menu), it was about finding the best wine for the best price,” Kaiser says.
The tightly curated menu currently features three sparkling wines, five whites, and five reds from France and Italy, as well as four beers from Belgium, Germany and the U.S. As advertised, a glass of each is $7, though there are plans to make premium wines available by the bottle.
A food menu encourages guests to mix and match cheese and charcuterie (also $7 ) or oysters (featuring quality mainstays like Miyagi and Kusshi), and to “nom, nosh, gobble, and gorge” on quiche and other entrees like halibut or quail legs.
Small plates feature tartine with Paris ham piled high over a thick slice of Meule du Jura cheese, or creamy avocado and burrata with a bite of lemon and chili. Sweets include a sponge cake with berries and cream, or an affogato with a splash of Frangelico.
Floor-to-ceiling glass windows make Le Plonc feel open and airy, while cognac leather arm chairs make it feel grounded. The room is at once spacious and intimate, all adding up to atmosphere that aims for ease over attitude.
“I think people are curious about wine because it’s such an interesting topic. It’s sensual, and has the potential to be interactive. But because it’s such a large field of study, it can be intimidating,” Kaiser said. “We hope our approach makes it fun.”
Drop in for a glass (or two) at Le Plonc, 331 Castro St. in Mountain View from 11 a.m. until close, open seven days a week.