Like the cities of the East Bay, local wine bars are an eclectic mix of the expensive, chic spots and the run-down neighborhood joint. A few, like Temescal's Marc 49, hit a nice balance, offering a good selection of reasonably priced wine in a happening part of town.
Located in the heart of Temescal, Marc 49 fits into the neighborhood with its art deco and shabby chic decor. Space is plentiful with comfy lounge chairs up front good for couples and small groups, and an outside patio with heaters in the back for larger parties.
The menu consists of roughly 30 wines by the glass, with about 3 or 4 choices of each varietal. The menu balances local and global wineries, which I appreciate as it lets me sample wines from other regions. The producers aren't that famous either, as I only recognized a couple local wineries (Rock Wall and Urban Legend).
Unlike other wine bars, Marc 49 offers flights where you can pick and choose what you want to taste. For $11, you can taste any 3 wines, or splurge $14 to taste 4. Most wines are available by flight, glass and bottle, so you can taste almost the entire menu. Nothing disappoints me more at wine bars than a lack of flights, or that the wine I want to try is only available by the bottle. To help guide your decision, each wine has descriptive tasting notes in the menu or you can ask the servers what they like.
Marc 49 also offers small plates and appetizers like ceviche ($8), cheese and meats ($12) and paninis ($7) to complement the wine. The food is light, so don't think of this as dinner. Rather, Marc 49 is perfect for pre- or post-dinner drinks, then grab dinner at any of the nearby restaurants like Burma Superstar or Pizzaiolo.
4915 Telegraph Ave., Oakland