A new drinking-and-eating spot opened in the Bishop Arts District last week. Whitehall Exchange is in the space at Bishop and Seventh that used to be Cretia’s and the Nodding Dog Coffee Co.
The place got a chic interior makeover that includes blue-and-white patterned wallpaper that matches a long, blue sofa that is the centerpiece of a lounge area along one wall. The place otherwise consists of tall round-top tables and a long bar with dim lighting.
We thought of Whitehall as a wine bar before we went in, but the wine list was disappointing. The by-the-glass selections included a $6 Marcus James merlot. I’m not super knowledgeable about vino, but this label I know. I once bought a bottle in the three-for-$9.99 bin at Fiesta because I needed wine for cooking. It turned out to be a waste of $3.33. Awful stuff.
Whitehall also features a $2 glass of wine. I instructed my partner to order it, but he refused: “It probably tastes terrible.” Probably. We settled on glasses that cost $9 each. Mine was a red blend. I can’t remember the name of it, but it was so-so. He ordered a white wine, also which I can’t remember, but it tasted of grapefruit and I liked it better than what I ordered. At any rate, it cost $18 plus tip for two glasses of OK wine. Not a good deal. The bartender was very friendly, and we liked him, but he didn’t seem to know anything about wine and didn’t offer any suggestions. Also, Whitehall serves all its wine in blue glasses. This couldn’t possibly count as a wine bar, could it? How should one detect the color of chardonnay served in a blue glass?
No, Whitehall Exchange should not be considered a wine bar. It is a bar. They serve tall cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon for $3, plus better beer and all manner of liquor.
There is a small food menu that looked interesting. A lobster roll is $15, and there are several flat breads for $12. Bar snacks include fried almonds and a selection of olives, which are $6 each.
Whitehall is not exactly what I expected, but I do like the interior update. I would rather stay home and drink a $12 bottle with a friend than order another glass there, but I could see watching a game at the bar, which features two big TVs, with a couple of tallboys and maybe those fried almonds.