GRAMERCY — One night a week, an upscale Spanish restaurant in Gramercy encourages its guests to bring their own wine, leave their seats and mingle with their fellow diners.
Manzanilla, a Spanish brasserie that opened in January at 345 Park Ave. S., launched its Monday wine nights this week, reserving its underground wine cellar for a private dinner party for those interested in tasting and talking wine.
“While anyone can make a reservation, it’s mostly for people who are either in the wine industry or people who share an interest in wine,” said Rick Pitcher, the restaurant's general manager. “It lets people mingle and get up and talk to other people. It’s more of a party atmosphere, rather than just a dinner.”
The wine cellar has seven tables seating up to 40 people in all, making for an intimate atmosphere, Pitcher said. Reservations can be made for two to 10 people per group.
The dinner menu is the same in the cellar as in the main dining room, featuring steak, oxtail burger, slow-cooked pork and sea bass crudo, but guests of the Monday wine parties will receive free corking for an unlimited number of bottles, Pitcher said.
“If they’re importers, it lets them show off their wines to people, and if not, people can just share with their friends,” Pitcher said. “People can feel free to let their hair down and have a good time with people sharing a common interest in wine.”
The wine cellar, which is located in the restaurant's basement, includes a view of the wine selection and a full-service bar. Bookshelves adorn one wall, and a long booth with pillows lines another.
“My feeling was, particularly in the summer when things are a little slower, to have every Monday be a wine party," Pitcher said.
Manzanilla is located at 345 Park Ave. S. Reservations for Monday night’s private dinners can be made from 7 to 9 p.m. To reserve a space, email Mondays@manzanillanyc.com.