What to Expect: Corkscrew is easily the coziest wine bar in town. The staff is upbeat, friendly and fun. The bottle selection is a joy to browse. Yes, you do see some of the "usual suspects" that you might find at the Spec*'s downtown or some of the upscale supermarkets in the city, but there are always new surprises, you just have to know what you're looking for or trust the recommendations of the staff (especially Mike, who's never steered me wrong). The prices are very good for a bar setting. The by the glass list changes nightly, but the off-the-list list is where you'll find the real surprises. Pizzas and sandwiches are served very casually, but are all the more enjoyable for that - quality ingredients without pretense, good tasting food taking priority over good looking food. Steak night (Tuesday) rocks - delicious, generous steaks cooked to order at an extremely reasonable price. The Truffles are a delight (the Frieda is legendary, and rightly so). Special events (speed dating, wine tastings, classes and festivals) sell out quickly for a reason--they're loads of fun, and there's no better place for party than here. For non-wine drinkers, there are usually 3-4 beers to choose from and water. The patrons run the gamut, from singles on their way home from the gym to university students out partying after exams to the after-theater crowd.
What Not to Expect: Verticals of Cake-bread, top vintage Champagne, a plethora of aged ports, or other rare, highly allocated wine (although some of these *do* pop up from time to time!), duck liver, Kobe beef burgers, etc. The place is extremely down-to-earth, so if you're going out to a wine bar with the goal of being doted over, the staff and patrons that know and love what the Corkscrew is all about would rather you take your business elsewhere.
Pros: Ambience, Staff, Neighborhood