I have heard for a while that Colonial Discount Wine and Liquors at 2401 Franklin Pike is an excellent place to find a good cheap bottle or a cheap good bottle of wine. Whether you're planning to cook with it or enjoy a bottle with a bowl of chili, it's good to have a few nice $5 bottles in the fridge ready and at your disposal.
With that in mind I stopped in at Colonial on a recent Friday afternoon after work. The parking lot was packed, and the store was bustling with a diverse crowd of shoppers. Some were dressed in the uniform of the downtowner on that particularly blustery day, wearing cashmere overcoats and silk scarves. I have heard some folks say that they don't like to shop there after dark, but hey, it's just a block or so from Melrose Pub. Exercise your normal urban caution and you should be fine. The gentry seemed just as at home as some of the scruffier types like me, so it was nice to see that this neighborhood store welcomes all sorts of customers.
Except, apparently, people with saggy pants as the no-nonsense sign on the front door asserted. The whole store is no-nonsense, with a decent selection of liquors displayed on one side of the store and metal racks of wine dominating the left side. Don't expect to see shelves carved out of oak barrels or shelf talkers giving you Robert Parker's opinion of every wine, but Colonial is by no means a Quarts n' Pints kind of store.
Instead of being arranged by geography, most of the wines are organized by price, including plenty of decent wines in the $3-$7 price range. Deals like "three bottles for $10.99" are prominently displayed, but you still get to mix and match within each category. There is plenty of help at the front desk to keep the commerce flowing at a good speed, even on a crowded Friday afternoon.
You might not receive private sommelier service, but the employees do know their stuff and pointed me to some pretty good Gewürztraminers and Rieslings on the $5 shelf. Just head a few more blocks down Franklin Road for some spicy Thai takeout from the Smiling Elephant and you've got the makings of a pretty good Friday night!
So if you're looking for a deal on a good bottle of plonk, give Colonial a try.