Oakland is gaining not one but two new wine bars. First, in a slightly tough-sounding Oakland fashion, is THE PUNCHDOWN, now open in the former Franklin Square Wine Bar space in Uptown. The project is from co-managers D.C. Looney and Lisa Costa, who both have extensive backgrounds in the wine industry. Their focus is on “high-quality, small production, naturally made wines at extremely affordable prices,” ranging from $5-$16 for a glass, with the opportunity to also purchase wine by the carafe, and of course, the bottle. There will also be some simple offerings like charcuterie, meat and cheese plates, some small plates, and larger homey entrées. Inspired by their favorite wine bars and pubs around the world, they wanted to create a comfortable space for people to linger and learn about wine. The grand opening is tonight at 6pm. Hours will be Tue-Fri 12pm-9pm, Sat 5pm-10pm, closed Sun-Mon. 2212 Broadway at 22nd, Oakland, 510-251-0100.
Meanwhile, next door to À Côté in Rockridge, first-time owner Joe Madison is opening ENOTECA MOLINARI, potentially by this weekend. The space is petite, with room for about 24 guests at tables and a curving bar. There will be an all-Italian wine list, with wines chosen to over-deliver on quality at an affordable price. Steve Jaramillo (the former chef of Lalime’s in Berkeley) will be running the kitchen (look for some small plates, and a few handmade pasta dishes, including a reportedly very delicious tagliatelle al ragù). Since the exact opening date is a bit tentative, call before heading over. 5474 College Ave. at Taft, Rockridge, 510-428-4078.