TBILISI, REPUBLIC OF GEORGIA. If the steeply winding, cobble-stoned climb from Tibilisi’s old town up Metekhi Rise leaves you with any breath at all, be prepared for the view from its heights to take it away. Before you a broad swath of this wildly romantic city unrolls like an exotic carpet– from the gracefully curving Mtkvari River and its incongruously modern Reebok sneaker of a bridge to the ancient and still imposing Narikala Fortress perched on an opposing hilltop.
We’ve made the ascent to this tidy, up-scale neighborhood because we’ve heard whispers of a little-known wine bar offering natural wines made by peasant vintners from indigenous Georgian grapes (with Armenia, Eastern Turkey, and northern Iran, Georgia shares the world’s oldest wine culture), but finding it proves challenging.
A city-wide party whose reason for being we never discover is clogging the streets with revelers and the sandwich board that is the sole marker of the bar’s location and which (we later learn) is normally positioned on the sidewalk had been taken in lest partying hoards invade the tiny space. It’s not that they wouldn’t be welcome. It’s just that our destination isn’t the kind that can, or cares to, cater to a crowd.