I’m not sure if it’s an age thing, or the fact I just like things feeling a bit more personal, but I’ve come to realise that I don’t love great big bars anymore. Even those really quirky ones, with huge cocktail menus and wine lists and beautiful décor… like I appreciate the efforts, and always appreciate the gorgeous interiors, but truly, I’m happier elsewhere.

Give me a great quality pub, with friendly staff and solid drink offerings, or a fun wine bar type environment and I’m much happier. I’m happy going out anywhere frankly, but there’s just certain places that much better do it for me.

This transition has just sort of happened, slowly, and it’s been helped along by some great local to me places that much better fit the remit of the places I like going ‘out’. When I’m in a place I enjoy much more, that isn’t just the usual rowdier bar, I always find myself questioning myself; ‘am I too old before my time?’; ‘does it make me boring that I just don’t want to be in a great big bar anymore?’; ‘am I the only one who can’t bear standing in line at a crowded bar waiting to get served?’

Digression aside, the bottom line is, I admit it, I just don’t enjoy over-crowded, over-priced, none-quality bars the same anymore, and if that’s because I’ve crossed the thirty threshold then so be it.

Enter what I do like…

I love a wine bar, that’s personal, where staff give a shit, that isn’t over-crowded, and does break the traditional mould of being ‘out’ that we have ingrained in our British psyche. Food offerings, make it even better, obviously.

I have a handful of kind-of-local places that conform to this niche for me, but today I’m going to mention the newest one to my list.

Veeno, the Italian wine café, Chester.

This place has only opened this year, and from discussion with the staff I believe there are quite a few already opened in other cities around the UK. The premise is that it’s a café bar serving wine, coffee and ‘sputini’, meaning ‘little snacks’, of high quality platters of meat, cheeses and other Italian appetisers.

There is a modest wine selection, all sourced from the family vineyard in Sicily, and these are available to buy by the glass or bottle to drink in, or also to buy to take out. The take-out part means there’s lots of wine shelves around the seating areas, making for a lovely, simple backdrop for an afternoon of wine drinking.

As well as wine, there is a full soft drink and coffee offering, as well as a smallish cocktail list, seemingly specialising in making cocktails using Italian sourced spirits.

We didn’t eat whilst we were there but the sputini looked VERY good; small plates, perfectly positioned against good quality glasses of booze.

So, what did we have?

We had one of their wine flights each. I had the Vineyard Flight and Gemma had the White Flight as she’s not a fan of red wine. They were presented very effectively, but simply, on a little paper placemat, circling which wine tastings were which, with some blurb about each of the specific wines in the flight on the paper mat. This style of relaxed tasting, where you can indulge analysing the wine style as much or as little as you want is so up my street. We weren’t paying for a full tasting as such, so this flight, at just a tenner each, with some broader wine details in literature form, was a welcome addition on a wine menu.

Following our flights, I sampled a larger glass of the red wine I had tried, and Gemma had a Sicily cocktail. Her cocktail sounded a little overwhelming on flavour varieties but it was GORGEOUS, and will definitely be getting made at home this summer.

For me, Veeno in Chester offered great staff, a lovely location for sitting and people watching (inside and out), quality wine offerings without a stupidly big menu to choose from, and a relaxed, unpretentious atmosphere to indulge in one of my favoured activities – trying new wine!

We will be back.

NB: this is NOT a sponsored post; Veeno, did not/do not, know I was going to write anything about my visit (I didn't know I was going to write anything about my visit either - hence such few photos) but I really liked the place and wanted to share the details a little more here for myself. However, Veeno, if you find this and you like it, let me know ;) x