Reds Wine Bar is a friendly little haunt tucked away in a corner of the Kent Station shopping/dining complex, near ShoWare arena. I was in search of a place to get a decent glass of wine prior to the Seattle Thunderbirds hockey game, and luckily my GPS pointed me to Reds. From the outside, it looks like typical suburban newish retail, but the inside is welcoming and warm, with a local-vibe feel that would work just fine in, say, Wallingford or Madrona.
The wines (reds listed first, of course!) are thoughtfully selected, with a good variety of options and a few little gems here and there. I was pleased to see a few favorites from my retail days at Seattle Cellars, such as the Northstar Stella Maris (merlot blend), the Airfield Estates (unoaked) chardonnay, and the delightful Stella Rosa red moscato, far and away better than its more well-known cousin, the Rosa Regale brachetto. They even have as their tawny port selection the Taylor Fladgate 10-Year tawny - nice choice. The beer list included six on draft, and my friend, being in the beer industry, was also pleasantly surprised by the selections. The dining menu is designed in the same way as the wine and beer lists - a little of this and that, with some unique selections - there is something for everyone here, from the grilled panini to pasta to a variety of appetizers and a few entree-sized options.
The owners of Reds Wine Bar are Kent locals Nick and Angela Xavier, both of whom come from culinary backgrounds. Nick was running the operation smoothly from behind the bar, while at the same time making sure to keep the customers engaged. The central bar is friendly and seemed to be the locals hangout, with most everyone striking up conversations with Nick and/or their neighbor, most typically about wines being tasted. Table service is available too, and wine may be also purchased for take-out at 40% off the menu price. Overall, the prices are reasonable, the selection is good, and the atmosphere is friendly and come-as-you-are. On ShoWare event nights, be sure to come early or make a reservation.
What stands out? The very clever "Pay it Forward" board where patrons can buy drinks for their friends to pick up later.
For more info: Reds Wine Bar and Craft Beers, 321 Ramsay Way, Suite 110, Kent WA 98032. (253) 277-1852. Open Sun-Tue 3-9, Wed-Thu 11-9, and Fri-Sat 11-11.