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Underdog Wine Bar Offers Sophisticated Sipping in Livermore

I can’t help it. Whenever I hear the name Underdog Wine Bar, childhood memories come back. I’m suddenly sitting on the back porch at my grandparents’ house, drinking Cragmont soda and watching a meek shoe-shine dog turn into the meek superhero Underdog just in time to save Polly Pure Bred from Riff Raff.

The Underdog Wine Bar, located at Concannon Winery in Livermore, also has a back porch where you can relax while sipping a tasty beverage. Cragmont soda is not on the menu though. Instead, you can choose from more than 50 wines that are available by the glass (choose two-ounce or six-ounce pours) and by the bottle. The by-the-glass wines are always fresh because the bar features an array of six Enomatic modules that each hold eight bottles. These systems ensure that the wine is at the proper temperature, pours are exactly the right size, and the bottles are kept topped-up with gas to prevent oxidation.


The adventurous and/or budget-minded among you may prefer to order a flight. Flights include two-ounce tastes of three different wines for less than it would cost to buy each taste separately. That said, the prices aat Underdog Wine Bar are very reasonable anyway. The majority of tastes cost just $2 or $3 and there is only one, a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, that costs more than $10. Bottle prices are good too, as they are all sold at retail pricing — no markup. Underdog also offers some non-alcoholic beverages and espresso drinks for your designated driver.

One of the key things that distinguishes a wine bar from just another bar with wine is the availability of good food. Ideally, you can order small plates that pair well with the wine you’re drinking. Underdog Wine Bar offers exactly that. The current menu includes five different bar snacks, eight small plates and three desserts. I’ve tasted all of the small plates and found them to be very good.

The Sautéed Crab Cakes ($12), served over mixed greens with champagne vinaigrette were full of sweet crab meat, not loaded with breadcrumb filler as they are so frequently elsewhere. One of my favorite plates is the Grilled Pear and Taleggio Panini ($5). The soft, sweet pear melded perfectly with the creamy and flavorful melted cheese, the panini bread was toasted to just the right level of crunch. I also loved the Miniature Cheeseburgers with creamy cambazola cheese and fried leeks ($8). The plate comes with two of the little burgers and the super-thinly julienned, crispy leeks are deliciously unique. This dish would also be a good match for the 2006 Darcie Kent “Crown Block” Livermore Valley Merlot I reviewed yesterday ($6 taste, $12 glass).

Underdog Wine Bar’s serene and rural exterior — the winery, vineyards and a lovely vista of the Livermore hills — set you up for a surprise. Inside, the bar is smart, sophisticated and polished. You may feel as if you’ve been transported to downtown San Francisco or Los Angeles. Inside, you can sit at the bar or in comfortable leather chairs on the main floor. If you prefer, there is also a lot of seating just outside under the pergola.


While the wine bar recently opened with a soft launch, their Grand Opening celebration is this Saturday, August 14 from noon until 8PM. You can check the place out and get free food samples plus a complimentary pour of wine. There will be live music, trapeze artists and more during the day and a DJ in the evening.

Underdog Wine Bar is open daily from noon to 8PM at 4590 Tesla Road in Livermore. It’s in the middle of the Livermore Valley wine trail, so it’s a great stop for a quick bite in between winery visits or for a few hours of relaxation afterward. And if you live east of the hills and have been wishing for a chic, urban wine bar experience, ”There's no need to fear, Underdog is here!”

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This article is original to Copyright 2010 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.