By Rob Luke
Hollywood screen legend Humphrey Bogart once commented, “The whole world is about three drinks behind.” And with all due deference to the late (and apparently thirsty) Mr. Bogart, while the rest of the world may be slacking, area residents have been keeping pace just fine, and in good supply too, thanks to our local Vendome Wine & Spirits. Located at the corner of Cahuenga & Riverside, Vendome Wine & Spirits has been serving the libation needs of the local residents with a friendly smile since 1989.
In an age where impersonal customer service has become the name of the game, being a familiar, friendly corner store has made this neighborhood staple a favorite with area residents for 20 years now. And upon meeting store manager Scotland Stephenson and the rest of the staff, one gets an immediate sense of exactly that sort of congenial quality. Scotland is glad to emphasize, “We make sure we have an unpretentious environment here. Because there’s a lot of that attitude in our field. Places like this can get kinda stuffy, and we’re definitely not that. This store is a fun atmosphere. For everyone [who works]here, this is either their career or a hobby for them, so sharing knowledge with people is a good time. We try to be approachable – approachable and knowledgeable.”
So what are Vendome’s areas of expertise? “Well, we’ve really been striving to be the best beer retailers in Southern California, as far as specialty beers are concerned,” Scotland mentions. And with over 700 brands of beer to choose from, it’s little wonder they’re one of the best. “Another area of focus at this location are eclectic wines, small producers, items that are under the radar.” And since nothing is put on their shelves unless they themselves have sampled and approved it first, the staff at Vendome has an exceptional knowledge of their products. Scotland adds, “We’re pretty discerning here, we have objective palates, so if someone tells us what they like, we’re pretty well-versed in steering them in a direction [they’re always pleased with].” And in these times where every dollar counts, that’s important. “It’s really invaluable to at least have someone here who can direct you towards something you’re likely to enjoy.”
Throughout the week, the staff at Vendome holds events where area locals can meet, mingle, and cultivate their tastes. Every Thursday evening, they hold wine & cheese night, and on Saturdays from 2 to 5pm are beer specials and from 6 to 9pm are wine specials. And looking ahead to April 15, be sure to ask about their Tax Day Special!
With their hand-selected array of libations from around the globe, a humidor room holding a veritable plantation of choicest tobacco, a host of gift ideas and accessories, and their friendly and expert staff, the only thing missing from this liquor market is a drive-thru window.
Vendome Wine and Spirits is located at 10600 Riverside Drive, right at the corner of Riverside & Cahuenga. Ample parking available! They can be reached at (818) 766-9593 or online at www.VendomeTolucaLake.com.