I reconnected with a friend recently, someone I haven’t seen much during the pandemic, the sort of mini reunion many locals are sure to experience in the coming weeks and months. My friend and I met up at Ada’s Wine Bar in Tivoli Village, chef James Trees’ recently reopened—and reimagined—spot, which now specializes in wines from around the world and small shareable plates.
Ada’s turned out to be a perfect place to catch up. The space has a cozy, intimate vibe that invites long conversations. The wine list is presided over by top-notch sommeliers, all of whom have serious bona fides on the Strip and elsewhere and can wax poetic about the 100-plus-bottles and two dozen by-the-glass options.
The emphasis is on global grapes, making Ada’s a fun jaunt for both novice imbibers and oenophiles. (And seriously, you are in good hands if you know nothing at all about wine. The somms can give you spot-on recommendations simply by sussing out your taste preferences or by pairing with your food choices.)
Rather than classified by region or varietal, wines are filed by descriptive quality: reds are “crunchy, juicy and elegant” or “bold, spicy and rich,” while whites are “zesty, bright and aromatic” or possess “precision, power and detail.”
Wines by the glass range from $10-$18, and bottles from about $30 to $250. Sparkling wines, sherrys, amaros and a beer list round out the beverage menu. Sommelier Sarah Pamatat, a veteran of Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants and Bellagio’s wine program, recommended a light and dry French Gamay, along with a juicy red blend from Alentejo, Portugal. Both were fantastic.
The menu at Ada’s Wine Bar has been reimagined from its original seasonal Italian offerings to Spanish and Mediterranean small plates, inspired by Trees’ travels in the region. Jackson Stamper, formerly of the Kitchen at Atomic, collaborated with the chef on the menu. It’s a short and sweet list meant to accompany the wines without overshadowing them, and no detail has been spared.
Start with the charcuterie plate ($15), which brings Jamon Serrano, Iberico chorizo and lomo, and/or the cheese plate ($15), a sheep’s milk all-star assemblage starring aged manchego, the sweet and savory Secret de Compostelle and Idiazabal. All are accompanied by Trees’ indispensable sourdough bread.
The Iberico chorizo croquetas ($9), with aged manchego and smoked paprika aioli, is a grown-up’s fried cheese sticks, while the salmon rillette ($13) is an elegant, creamy concoction of smoked salmon, shallot and tarragon aioli, topped with chives. Pair with the wild mushrooms ($13) prepared with Taleggio cream, sherry vinegar and herbs, and topped with a sunny-side egg you’ll scoop up with toasted sourdough slices. All are served tapas style and meant to be shared.
If you stay longer, items on the menu can stand in for dinner, like the octopus potatas bravas ($15), a duck confit panini ($13) or the skirt steak ($24), prepared with chimichurri marinade, roasted sweet peppers and a spicy pepper jam. That one calls for another hearty glass of red.
That’s just how Ada’s Wine Bar is, a place where your evening can be as long as that wine list. The staff will never rush you out the door, even after the official closing time. After the year we’ve all had, it’s a good place to start catching up again.
ADA’S WINE BAR 410 S. Rampart Blvd. #120, 702.463.7433. Wednesday-Sunday: 2-9 p.m.