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Inside Ungrafted wine bar in San Francisco

Warm, relaxed service in a cavernous space - and a hefty wine list...

Ungrafted’s unassuming entrance soon expands into a cavernous, airy space, complete with mezzanine floor.

But this warehouse structure retains a sense of intimacy thanks to its use of features such natural wood tables and wall-art. A glass-walled wine cellar is built into a corner of the room.

Opened by sommelier couple Chris Gaither and Rebecca Fineman MS in December 2018, this bar lies in lies in San Francisco’s Dogpatch area.

It’s a traditionally working-class part of town near to the waterfront that has been undergoing a transformation and boasts a range of restaurants, bars and art galleries away from the well-trodden routes through better known districts.

Staff, who are all sommeliers, place a strong emphasis on warm, relaxed service; part of a laudable movement towards taking the ego out of wine.

There is clearly an eye for detail, from the delicately presented sharing plates to the well-appointed table layout.

The wine list is suitably hefty. Ungrafted specialises in Champagne, but its full menu displays a range of classics and more off-beat options.

You can spend serious money on top names – including $5,500 on a DRC 2011 wine – but you’ll also find Porter Creek ‘old vine’ Carignan, sourced from California’s Mendocino County, available by the glass. There are a good number of half-bottles, too.

Talley Chardonnay from the Arroyo Grande Valley, with its well-integrated oak and bright acidity, was great when paired with crispy chicken skins served with avocado and michelada on a Saturday afternoon.

Reservations are best for evenings, according to staff, but a small number of front tables are held for walk-ins.

This could be a neighbourhood hangout, but is equally great for tourists willing to step off the established track in San Francisco. It was worth the trip.

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