Ellen in Lalaland: Pride Month Style

The news of The Ruby Fruit, a lesbian natural wine bar in Silver Lake, thrilled us to our queer bones. In my time in Los Angeles, there’s never been, to my knowledge, an expressly lesbian bar. Well, actor-me spent some time in one. I was in many scenes set in Dana’s, the fictional Los Angeles lesbian bar in “The L Word: Generation Q”. So there was that. A lesbian bar that was pure wishful thinking. Yay. But no real-life application. A relatively newly minted bisexual, I was bowled over at the promise of real-life sapphic glory. I took a lesbian friend (just in case being bi wasn’t enough, not that I was worried, except I was a little), and we collectively bubbled over at the prospects of what was to come. LA is as LA does, so we planned to, at worst, get wine-plowed and, at best, drink good wine in a good atmosphere with like-minded people. This was about a month ago. Last weekend was my third (definitely not last) time in. It’s not a scene, not in an ick scene-y way, anyway. It’s chill and open. It closes at 11, leaving the door open to go home if you are a workaholic Virgo who yearns to go home to work (me), or you just want to head home early with your love/first date (not me yet) or you and your friends want to finish the night with shots of Fernet somewhere walkable nearby (also me). A dream in scheduling and execution. Every time I’ve been, the pink-walled inside is bustling, with the crowd taking over a sidewalk/parking lot space possibly bigger than the inside. It’s crowded, and yet I’ve never felt stifled the way I do in some bars. Is it that non-cis-het-men are better at respecting personal space? In my experience at the typical LA bar, someone is gonna touch you in a way you don’t love, and some dude will try to squeeze past you. Even if he doesn’t need to squeeze, he WILL (your shoulders or the small of your back, fml), saying “excuse me, love,” like they have the right to call you love. So yeah, none of that here. Everyone at The Ruby Fruit seems engrossed with each other. So far as I can tell, it isn’t a place you really go to meet people. It’s a place to spend time with those you actually want to be there with, whether friendly or more. I could go on the merits of The Ruby Fruit being a lesbian bar. But moreover, I want to tell you why it’s a kickass bar bar. It’s the f@*!ing best. It is a natty skewing wine bar with the taste to have well-made wines identifying as natural—a label nearly as tricky to navigate as my own gender expression but both worth anyone’s while. I was happy to order an orange Chenin Blanc from Megan Bell’s Margins. I was also happy to order a Manzanilla Sherry. Multiple times. Hashtag when-will-Sherry-really-become-a-thing. There are expected wines: the dry Riesling , the Malbec that was more alive than the vibe, and a rich but bright Zin . But there’s also the wtf? Wines, like a Concord grape wine from Burgenland, Austria. It smelled like Welch’s and tasted better as the alcohol gave it a nice mouthfeel and was super fresh. It actually paired really well with the fries. The running theme of the wine list is that it is all quality wine, unpretentious even when not immediately “approachable”. You can drink to think or not, and neither choice is wrong. Oh, but I mentioned fries. The fries! Incidentally. Curly, well-seasoned, and served with ketchup and a dill-intensive ranch. They are very good and, moreover, PLENTIFUL, served in a big crock. You may think, “That’s more fries than I need,” but you would be mistaken. You will finish them. My first time I at The Ruby Fruit, I saw a small group of people order them, finish them, and order more. Along with the hot dog (available meaty or vegan), which I see a LOT of people order. Based on observations, I’d guess the hot dog is one of the most popular things. For all the fries and dogs of it, there are also some pretty bespoke options that seem to change from week to week. The last time I went, we split a platter of mortadella with hot honey, housemade ricotta, pistachios, marinated olives and some pretty pickles. We thought they were purple cauliflower pickles but then saw someone order the full-on pickle plate, and everything was purple, so we are surmising beets dyed them? One way or the other, they were a piquant and crunchy bite. Another time, my friends got tiny fish bites, and we split some sauced-up chewy mushrooms. Whatever you choose will be well-seasoned, appropriately cooked and beautifully plated. Go ahead and get the crusty bread with butt-shaped butter. This leads me to the décor because segues are my bread and butter, literally. There’s subtle butt décor in the shape of planters and butter molds. The walls are pink. The lights outside are also pink. There are vases of ample flowers. Real ones. I didn’t know I needed a place like The Ruby Fruit until I knew I needed a place like The Ruby Fruit? And then there is the Indigo Girls bathroom. Within it burns a Palo Santo candle. The door is adorned with a “NO TERFS” (look it up) sign. On my most recent visit, I was waiting an ungodly amount of time for someone in there. Ungodly to the point, I made eye contact with the second person waiting and jiggled the handle, second-guessing if it was locked the first time. It was. A moment later, the occupant was apologetic, rushing their way past. But the minute I entered, I couldn’t help but blame them if they were taking their time in the joint. From the bustling music and crowd of the bar, you enter the bathroom and want to linger almost as much as you want to get back to your co-fermented apple/Pinot Blanc/etc. Sparkling wine. There is a daytime aspect to the bar I have yet to explore, including it becoming a co-working space and brunch venue. I can’t wait to see more. End story—it is a welcome place. The good vibes abound. The delicious wine and food don’t quit (until 11 pm). I can’t wait to see where it all goes. In the meantime, find me there on a Friday or Saturday night and hopefully soon for a Tuesday workspace. It is a welcome spot; it is a happy place. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Want to read more from Ellen? Check out her recent articles: Happy Rosé Day…I Mean, Duh A Spritz in Your Summer Step Wine Women All Year Round Old World vs. New World: Tannat Ellen in Lalaland: Escape to Santa Monica You can also listen to Ellen's podcast , The Wine Situation here . Check out her recent transcripts of the Final Five questions: Wine Situation Final Five! Amanda Greenbaum Wine Situation Final Five! Kate Ayres

Margins Wine

Wilson Vineyards Skin Fermented Chenin Blanc 2021

Tangerine zest, green apple, lemon, honey. Zippy. Complex but easy drinking. — 2 years ago

Dr. Konstantin Frank

Finger Lakes Dry Riesling 2013

Peach, lemon and lime delight. Well done FLX wine. Will gain complexity for sure with bottle age. — 4 years ago

Severn liked this

Bodegas de los Infantes Orleans-Borbon

Manzanilla de Sanlúcar de Barrameda Manzanilla Fina

Which swish shush anyone who has a word to say against this. This is fabulous. Fino Sherry always has a hint of mystique to me (is that salt or crystallized cheese?) and Manzanilla hops in the court ready to play. Really tho try this. — 3 years ago

Ron, Matt and 9 others liked this

Canard-Duchêne

Brut Champagne Blend

Smells cidery, mouth watering, creamy...(still processing). Eating duck fat fries with champagne aioli. Yum and yum. — 4 years ago

T.Sean Hamilton
with T.Sean
Severn liked this

Oak Farm Vineyards

Lodi Barbera 2017

This is an interesting red wine from California. Showing tangy red and black fruits, vanilla, light wood, spices, dark chocolates, tobacco leaf, herbs, earth and peppercorn.

Medium plus in body with medium plus acidity.

Nice length on the finish with soft tannins and tangy raspberries.

Good right out of the bottle and better as it opens up (30 minutes).

This Barbera is easy drinking with a strong nose and a soft mouthfeel.

Fruit forward and balanced. Would be interesting to taste this in 3 years.

I've had it before, and this time I gave it a light chill. A nice porch wine, and very tasty.

At this point, the alcohol is nicely integrated, although pretty high, so watch out as it is very easy to drink.

I paired it with a burger and fries.

15% alcohol by volume.

89 points.

$25.
— 4 years ago

Ira, MaJ and 17 others liked this

Trapiche

Broquel Malbec 2011

The 2011 vintage of this wine could potentially see its 20th Birthday. Talk about an overachiever. — 7 years ago

Severn liked this