Just because Gemma, the new spot attached to the Bowery Hotel has sad wine choices doesn't mean you should avoid it. You'd miss a fine pizza if you did. (from what I could see, almost everything else was a work in progress. After all, they are in their "soft"opening.)
The trouble with this short list is the optical illusion. At first glance you see aglianico, vermentino, lagrein--aha, you think--diversity! But when tasting through (at least by the glass, courtesy of a very patient and kind bartender) all are made in either a technical style-- super squeaky-clean, or over-oaked international one.
Most every choice seems to have a ‘consultants’ magic touch with one bright spot: one wine on the list is not only drinkable but lovely is the Antano Sagrantino but $110 for the pleasure is a wee bit too high.
The advice I can hand out, though, is to pay the $25 corkage and order the pizza. Delicious.
The reason the high $25 fee isn't so bad is 'cause the cheapest bottle on the list will set you back $36. So, even if you bring a little fun, lovely $10 wine such as Chateau d'Oupia, you come out ahead.
But, if you go, be prepared for an esque-environment; --- Pizzeria Uno-esque meets Balthazar-esque meets Medieval Spain-esque. Even the crowd--definitely not neighborhood-- was very Hampton-esque, ram's horn pendants dripping into WonderBra super-tanned cleavage.
Trend alert: Buddy Holley over-sized, horn-rimmed glasses.
Next door at the hotel? It's another design mess but there's something sweet about it. Such a crazy quilt design of Hearst Castle meets Loire Chateau meets Scotland with a little bit of Catskill thrown in---plastic coverings ripped off of the furniture for the summer---no one having given a thought to the chair and table placement. All of this comes with some sort of imported 'old' smell. I find the wine list amusing. Those who think Clicquot Yellow Label is a status symbol get to pay $140 for the entry-level bottle. Rose also gets star billing. The 'cult' Domaines Ott gets two placements, you'll have to dig for one hundred clams to puchase a bottle of the 2005 Chateau des Selles, the "Les Dominieres" a mere $52.
I'll go back in a flash for a cocktail. There's an outdoor garden, the bar is intimate and one of the few spots in my neighborhood where a conversation is possible.
The Bowery Hotel and Gemma
212 606 9100