By Jessica H.
Max’s Wine Dive is a laid-back restaurant in south Capitol Hill with a gourmet food menu and an eclectic wine and cocktail list that touches on southern classics and twists on American favorites. The first Max’s Wine Dive opened in Houston, Texas with the goal of serving up delicious comfort food and a variety of wines in a relaxed environment. Unlike your traditional fine dining restaurants in which men must don a button down and women a cocktail dress, MWD has the food and drink of a fine dining restaurant but in an uber-casual environment. With the love of rock ‘n’ roll and a variety of wines to suit everyone’s tastes, Max’s Wine Dive is a place you can take your parents for Friday dinner or take your best friends for lots of happy hour drinks.
We have been dying to go to Max’s Wine Dive for some time now and luckily had the chance to visit recently during Friday happy hour. Adorned with wooden tables, warming decor, and a jukebox filled with great albums, the restaurant feels welcoming to anyone who may pass through its doors. We sat at a high top near the jukebox and bookcase-like shelves full of wine to get the full MWD experience. Next to the indoor dining room is a large outdoor patio, perfect for summer brunches and happy hours in the Colorado sunshine. We started out with some happy hour bites and drinks, then moved onto a charcuterie plate, cocktails and some delicious comfort food.
Happy hour bites are plentiful here: sriracha lime popcorn, shrimp and mango ceviche, man candy bacon, Max’s hot wings, and street corn. We tried the sriracha lime popcorn, which is a delicious twist to your classic popped snack, and the shrimp and mango ceviche — the perfect refreshing dish to eat on a hot summer day.
For happy hour drinks, you have plenty of options. Our favorite option for this summer is the Frico Scarpetta Wine bucket. For $25, you get five cans of sparkling wine or “frico frizzante” from the Italian hills of Veneto. At 10% ABV, this wine is crisp, yet delicate, with succulent bubbles to start your evening off right. Another favorite are the $5 frozen drinks on happy hour which mean one thing: frosé, baby. MWD’s frosé is off the charts — a light pink delicacy fitting for patio weather.
In terms of other drinks, we recommend the 9.19 consisting of Sauvignon Blanc, St. Germain, and vodka — a light cocktail with citrusy vibes — named after the GM’s wedding date and a drink that was served at the celebration. We also loved the Barolo Old Fashioned made with rye whiskey, Barolo Chinato, honey syrup, and house cherry. Barolo Chinato is an after dinner cordial, in between amaro and vermouth, which is made with fruits, spices, and botanicals. It adds a unique twist on the classic Old Fashioned cocktail. Their Bloody Mary is also epic — the vodka is infused with various veggies for days and the fried chicken seasoning is used on the rim.
The cheeseboard is a must. Add the chef’s charcuterie for some tasty cured meats that are thinly sliced in-house. Lastly, the fried chicken is a necessity. MWD is known for their famous southern fried chicken, which is made with jalapeno-buttermilk… And holllyyyyy…. It’s amazing and perfectly tender. I still dream about it. The Max ‘N Cheese is the final thing you must order: made with cavatappi noodles in a truffle cream sauce with provolone, gruyere, parmesan, and white cheddar.
We truly loved Max’s Wine Dive and recommend you go there ASAP– whether it be for happy hour, dinner, or brunch. Happy hour is served from 4- 6 PM Monday through Friday and you can grab brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 10 AM- 3 PM.