ShareThis Page

Allegheny Wine Mixer not meant to feel like 'hotel lobby'

| Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 9:25 p.m.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
A glass of Pinot Noir compliments a meat and cheese plate at Allegheny Wine Mixer Wine Bar & Tap Room in Lawrenceville on Saturday June 22, 2013.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Customers enjoy food, drinks, conversation and no television at Allegheny Wine Mixer Wine Bar & Tap Room in Lawrenceville on Saturday June 22, 2013.

If you can't find a wine bar you like, invent your own.

That was Jamie Patten's solution.

“I love good wine and good beer. But, when I went to wine bars, I never was very comfortable in them,” Patten says. “They felt like hotel lobbies. I felt they needed to be reinvented.”

Last August, Patten opened the Allegheny Wine Mixer in Lawrenceville.

Open Wednesday through Sunday evenings, it has become a popular drop-in spot for neighborhood people as well as those waiting for a table at nearby restaurants. Soothing blue walls are covered with an art collection predominated by kitschy paint-by-numbers masterpieces, and music plays softly in the background.

One thing you won't find is a television.

“It's distracting, unpleasant. I felt like bars have just become places to watch TV. People won't talk to each other,” Patten says. Without the TV, conversation flows, across and even between tables. “People make friends here,” she says.

From 8 to 11 p.m. most Thursdays, live musicians may be on hand playing anything from DJ-driven old Motown hits or folk or jazz. But there's only room for two musicians, and Patten promised the music is “backgroundy, not aggressive.”

On a hot summer evening, the bar is a dark, cool place to relax with a glass of one of the 40 wines or 20 beers — six on tap on the carefully chosen lists. Wines range from $7 to $14 a glass or $28 to $50 a bottle, beers from $2 to $18.

Adventurous types may opt for the $5 wine of the day or the daily comparison — a pair of 3-ounce pours that are priced between $8 and $10.

If you're not sure what you want or want to try something new, the staff is happy to weigh in with suggestions or descriptions.

“We're trying to reach out to wine nerds. We've got a lot of cool stuff on our wine list,” Patten says. “If you do know about wine and want to have a conversation, we do that, too.”

One of the wine cocktails — The Harlot ($8) — was a tasty and refreshing concoction of pinot noir, brut rose, Chambord and a twist of lemon.

The Allegheny Wine Mixer is a great source for snacking.

“That's the biggest surprise,” Patten says. “Almost everyone who comes in gets something to eat.”

Patten has put together a selection of cheese and charcuteries that can be ordered in preset combos or mixed and matched to individual tastes.

Some are locally sourced from Wild Purveyors, just down the block. The Beef Jerky ($1.50) comes from D.J.'s Butcher Block in Bloomfield.

Cheese and meat selections run $4 to $5. Preset plates are $12 and $13.

They're served on slate rectangles with thin slices of French bread and an assortment of embellishments, including a few berries and slices of ripe pear, some olives on the stem, cornichons (tiny French pickles) and a dab of fig jam surrounded by four cashews.

We enjoyed the Leonora ($4), a creamy Spanish cheese with a hint of lemon, the Ba Ba Blue ($4), a sheep cheese from Wisconsin and some tissue-thin slices of prosciutto ($4) from Parma Sausage Co. in the Strip and the Creminelli Wild Boar Salami ($4) from Italy.

It was more than sufficient for two people hoping to stave off predinner hunger.

A selection of Toasties ($5) — grilled cheese sandwiches cut into quarters for sharing — and a Chocolate Plate ($6) of Sinful Sweets confections also are available.

The Allegheny Wine Mixer, 5326 Butler St., Lawrenceville. Hours: 5 p.m. to midnight Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays; 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Details: 412-252-2337 or

Alice T. Carter is staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7808 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.