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Satisfaction in Downtown Culver City

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Last Wednesday, I spent happy hour at Ugo Wine Bar in Culver City. The week before, we spent it at Bottle Rock (where I've had a great time on the weekend), which was disappointing. It was loud, the service was slow and the food was expensive. Ugo Wine Bar was exactly the opposite and it was such a pleasure. We thought it was Vinum Populi, and it used to be, but these days, it's part of the Ugo empire.

They have a kind of unique set up. You buy a card for ten dollars and then you can take your glass around the bar and, using your card, sample numerous wines. Though they have many more reds, they have a nice small selection of crisp whites, as well as a selection of Mocktails.

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Because it was happy hour, they had a few platters of tasty vittles (for as long as they last) out on the bar. We helped ourselves to cheeses (Buffalo mozzarella, something smoked, something mild and shaves of Parmesan), charcuterie (salami, speck, prosciutto and some other things), some stuffed peppers and a white bean salad, with balsamic, mint and tomatoes. Everything was good, but the white bean salad was fabulous, bright, flavorful -- it was a real show stopper.

Even as it got more crowded, it was quiet and low-key. The service was excellent and we were happily offered numerous water refills. It was a great place to spend a couple of evening hours, watching the twilight fade.

As a side note, after reading about Rush Street's butterscotch pudding, we popped over afterwards, to sample it. They ran out, so they gave us two free desserts -- a silky apricot cheesecake, with some kind of burnt sugar in the crust and a nicely bitter chocolate mousse cake.

Ugo Wine Bar, 3865 Cardiff Ave, Culver City CA 90232
Bottle Rock, 3847 Main Street, Culver City, CA
Rush Street 9546 Washington Blvd., Culver City