I have been aware of and experienced the Wine Gallery and Cafe since it first opened in the Cannery Building. After it moved to the corner of Monument and Main St I was eager to see if it had become what it promised to be. I was excited by many aspects of the place: great downtown location (I'm a huge proponent of improving downtown Dayton), unique type of restaurant in Dayton and needed, excellent notion of reclaiming older building spaces, etc. Not to mention the fact that I'm a huge fan of good wine, particularly in pleasant places. Ultimately though I have been and remain frustrated. All of the positive aspects of the venture seem to pale in comparison to the detriments, and what is worse the down side is apparently self-inflicted. While this wine bar has as large a wine selection one could find anywhere else in Dayton (although very worrying is the objectionable inclusion of wine from the Golan Heights, an area considered to be illegally occupied by the international community including the USA) the wine is often stale as if poured from a bottle that was opened the evening before and placed on a shelf under the bar. This is particularly bothersome when ordering flights, something which should be a highlight of a wine bar. The menu has evolved and improved though I think some improvement is definitely possible. Perhaps smaller but changing? The location still has promise but the utilization of the river view is almost nonexistent but to be fair this could be out of the owners' control. There is ample parking but it is difficult to know if it is a paid lot and if so if validation by the wine bar is possible which calls into question the commitment to exemplary customer service. Which brings me to the wait service. The owners are friendly and strike one as well known in the community and eager to please. However they do not seem to be representative. In addition to being clearly inexperienced in restaurant service the wait servers range from very pleasantly incompetent to blatantly disinterested in customer needs. And while the ambiance of the reclaimed building is nice it is diminished by the shadow created by the service issues. Furthermore the wasted bar space is disappointing and puzzling. A wine bar with a nonfunctional bar seems..well....nonfunctional (and sad). I think that these issues can be rectified (particularly if an experienced bar manager or chef were brought on to revamp the menu, use of space, and service principles) and I fervently hope that they are. However ultimately it was the very poor, bordering on offensive, service that resulted in my decision to avoid this restaurant, despite its potential promise. I will keep a hopeful eye on the menu and reviews and revisit this decision in the future.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.