Despite the burgeoning neighborhoods surrounding downtown, there are still a few strips that are less than stellar. Take NE Second Avenue. There's endless potential and some good stuff popping up, but there's still a long road to hoe to make the hood habitable.
Enter Time for Wine, a sweet little freestanding vino-and-tapas shop that just opened down the way from the restaurant City Hall at 2200 NE 2nd Ave. Owned by an eager-to-please couple, it stocks inexpensive wine, an assortment of tapas, and best of all, its own free parking lot.
Miami is somewhat lacking in wine shops, particularly those that don't cater to high-end imbibers looking for a bottle to impress their highbrow friends. But Time for Wine is on the opposite end of the spectrum. With minimal markups and a majority of the inventory priced under $15, it's a perfect spot for the smaller-budget, after-work wine drinker.
David Taboada and his wife started the spot as a passion of sorts. They also own a watch shop in Bayside Marketplace, but Taboada was into wine and wanted a place of his own.
He doesn't call himself an expert, just an enthusiast. "This is a never-ending process about wine," he says.
His idea is to offer an extensive selection of affordable wines in a pleasant atmosphere. "Like a warehouse, but pretty, and be able to offer good prices."
They also offer a tapas menu, with nibbles such as meatballs ($6.99), olive dip ($3.99), stuffed olives ($4.25), chicken paninis ($5.95), and ceasar salad ($4.25). A glass of house wine runs $4, as does the corkage fee.
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The spot has homegrown charm, with a wine-inspired mural painted on the outside wall and a smattering of tables and potted plants. The interior offers shelves separated by region and another series of tables and chairs. It's a pleasant, chill spot -- and Taboada and his wife are constantly at their customers' beck and call.
So snap up a few bottles and support a local biz. Sure, Total Wine is bigger and badder, but Time for Wine has personality.
Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahalexs.