Bodega Wine Dive is a little gem hidden slightly south of town at 3505 Country Club Road. There’s a lot to like, from the ambiance of the lighting to the openness of the space that makes it feel like a breezy time out even when the parking lot is full. And of course, there’s wine, but not just any wine, as Bodega’s new sommelier, Justin Hall, points out. His goal is to bring across a new palate of flavors not usually seen in Calcasieu Parish.
“There’s all these stories in these food and wines that the people of Lake Charles are thirsty for,” Hall says, as he absentmindedly plays with a glass of Pinor Noir. “But they’re not sure where to make that connection. We’ve got a unique role here that’s between wine and foods that are so artisanal and special that we’d like to share some more.”
Happy Hour (Tuesday-Thursday, 4:00-6:00 p.m.) makes it easy to get in after a long day of work and relax with a $5 glass of Cabernet. But there’s so much more than just wine and spirits here. Perhaps the most under-looked value of Bodega is the simplicity of food menu.
The Cheese & Charcuterie boards come in various combinations, with cheese such as gouda, brie, and Artesano Manchego, and meats such as salami and capocollo, that are a great light addition if you want a group appetizer to go with your bottle of La Storia.
If you’re looking for something a bit more filling, Bodega’s Brick-Oven Pizza is some of the best from stem to stern. You’ll find traditional Spicy Sausage or house pie in The Bodega, but the real winner might be the Wine Lover’s, featuring figs and arugula.
Another distinctive feature of Bodega Wine Dive is their inclusion of wine lockers for patrons. Renting a locker allows you to keep part of your cellar at Bodega for your convenience, while allowing Hall to select a couple specialty bottles that you won’t find anywhere else in Lake Charles.
“We need to learn better how to engage the community,” Hall says, and wine drinkers will quickly see that not only is he a master of wine, but also a quality storyteller who will have you transfixed as he regales you not only about the wine you’re drinking, but half a dozen other random facts.
This talent is something that he hopes to put on full display for the monthly wine tastings he’s planning, for now slated for the first Thursday of each month. Eventually he hopes this grows to such a following that it brings the community even more strongly together going forward.
Bodega Wine Dive is currently open Tuesday-Thursday, 4:00-10:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 4:00-11:00 p.m. The space can also be booked for special events.