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by Cara Gardner


The Wine Cellar


313 Sherman Ave., CdA * (208) 664-9463


The Wine Cellar is one of the region's most beloved wining and dining venues. For the past 12 and a half years, owner Jim Duncan has brought eager customers an expansive 250-item wine list, rich Mediterranean cuisine and a cozy place to spend an evening. Despite being an award-winning wine venue, the Wine Cellar offers reasonably priced wines (they have about 12 wines by the glass) and caters to both connoisseurs and the clueless.


Located at the base of a winding staircase from its storefront in downtown Coeur d'Alene, the restaurant manages a fine balance between being nestled away and being easy to find; it's elegant but not too glitzy, filled with nostalgic European d & eacute;cor and candle-lit tables while veering safely away from kitschy vibes. Bands play five nights a week, including favorites such as the Painkillers, Lindell Reason Trio, Carl Rey and the Blues Gators and Riverboat Dave. Low, pleasing jazz or blues notes waft over tables, mixing deliciously with the tinkling of full glasses and happy chatter.





Mizuna


214 N. Howard St. * 747-2004


Known for its outstanding vegetarian cuisine, Mizuna is now making waves for being the place to relax with fine wine, listen to live jazz -- and even have a steak. Art graces the walls of this elegant, modern restaurant; the d & eacute;cor is clean, graceful, organic. Sit at a candlelit table for two or lounge on the sofa in the bar area. Sharing a bottle of wine at Mizuna is a sophisticated treat.





Luna


5620 S. Perry St. * 448-2383


Known for its creative entrees, fresh baked breads and diverse wine list, Luna is popular all around. Owners William and Marcia Bond have made Luna a favorite choice for people wanting to try out new wines; they have more than 600 bottles to choose from, and they host the Monday Night Wine Flight, which highlights three wine samplings for just $10.





Luigi's


245 W. Main Ave. * 624-5226


Luigi's is to Spokane what the Wine Cellar is to Coeur d'Alene -- classy, comfy digs for wining and dining. Not only is the menu superb, but also, every Tuesday, Luigi's offers 50 percent off every bottle under $50. That's right: score a $30 bottle for just $15 -- drink it there or take it home.





Rocket Market 726E. 43rd Ave. * 343-2253


It's strange that one of the coolest spots to drink wine is a small market joined to a gas station. But hey, we're up for anything. The Rocket Market is not your average mini-mart. This quaint spot is a breathing space for passers by as well as a destination point for those looking to learn a little about vino. Wine classes are offered every Friday, and people are known to stick around on into the evening, sipping away, with live music in the summer.





Publication date: 2/03/05

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