Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Taste and Look of Azo Vino - A Wine Bar/Art Gallery Review

I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon at a wine bar & art gallery called, Azo Vino in Covina, CA. For those who don’t know where Covina is, it’s 22.9 miles east of Los Angeles in between the I-210 and the I-10 fwy.

The Azo Vino is nestled in downtown Covina. It can be easily missed, but once you find it, you’ll be glad you did. Of all that Covina has to offer, it is one of its missing treasures that must be discovered, especially if you are an art collector and wine drinker. Like many of the store owners in Covina, Galen Metz is one of the nicest and friendliest people you’ll get to encounter in this small city.

Metz originally opened Azo Vino as an art gallery back in September of 2001 and the business thrived when people were no longer traveling due to the terrorist attacks after 9-11. “They spent vacation money on art, not travel” Metz recalls. But in 2007, when the liquidity crisis struck at its peak to the economy, Metz needed a niche to bring in customers to keep the business afloat. Azo Vino became what it is today, an art gallery/wine bar. This part of the business is what kept this place open. “When times are good, people party. When times are bad, people drink” said Metz.

Azo Vino carries custom hand-blown glass art, beautiful paintings from area artsts, and carries a wide array of wines, and offers many ways to tour their catalog of wines. Some samples of the art work is on his website, but not all pieces are displayed in the website.

During every Thursday evening, Metz will take you on a journey through areas of different wine regions. Each Thursday is called, “Flight Night” in which Metz takes you on a tour of a specific region and he chooses what you taste for that evening. One evening it might be in Napa and a tour of white wines, or it might be a tour in Monterey with a taste of reds for that region. For a beginning wine drinker, this is the perfect place to make your debut to wine. Metz has dozen’s of different wines on hand and offers a menu of sorted wines and beers for customers to experiment or order individual wines or beers by the glass. Along with elegant music and two flat screen TV’s, it’s the sort of place to lounge and hang out with your friends, or even enjoy by yourself and read a book or do homework without being disturbed.

On the first Tuesday of every month, Azo Vino will host, “Movie Night”. Movies are pre-selected and shown to the patrons to enjoy on a large projected screen. As movies are shown, you can lounge in the 4,000 square foot gallery/wine bar or sit in at a table with friends and drink a glass of your favorite beverage.

Whether you’re a novice wine drinker or a wine connoisseur, or you prefer beer, and you want a second place to call home away from home, Azo Vino is the perfect place for you to enjoy alone or with friends, and even make new ones.

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