Review: Malaga Wine and Tapas Bar in Austin, TX
440 West 2nd St.
Website: Malaga Wine & Tapas Bar
Hours: Monday to Friday (Lunch) 11:30am-1:30pm; Saturday to Sunday (Lunch) 11:30am-2:30pm; Sunday to Wednesday (Dinner) 5pm-10pm; Thursday (Dinner) 5pm-11pm; Friday to Saturday (Dinner) 5pm-12am
Happy hour: 5-7pm
Malaga Wine and Tapas Bar is one of Austin’s original wine bars. Located near the Warehouse District, Malaga has been serving up wine and Spanish appetizers for almost a decade. We stopped by Malaga for their happy hour, which was hopping and fun.
According to their web site, for happy hour they offer a limited selection of white and red wines for $4.00 and some tapas for an additional $3.50. When we got our menus, the happy hour actually features a choice of two white wines, three reds and one rosé for $4.50, not $4. The tapas were still available for an additional $3.50 each. Not that $.50 is any big deal, but if you look at Austin City Guide the wine is listed as costing $3.00. It’s time to clean up some stale data.
We ordered a couple of glasses of 2007 Crios de Susana Balboa Rosé de Malbec, and our friend ordered a Don Miguel Gascón 2007 Malbec. The red wine was a great pour. The rosés had less wine in the glass and could have been a little colder, but we still enjoyed them a lot. To pair with our wines, we ordered Pincho Moruno (marinated grilled pork bites), Gambas al Ajillo (garlic shrimp), and Almogrote de Alcachofas (artichoke and spinach dip). The pork and the shrimp were great, and the dip was okay, but nothing special.
Our second round of reds included two glasses of old, oxidized wine. When we told our server, the glasses were removed immediately and replaced.
We appreciated the prompt replacement of the old wine, but we really wish all wine bars would check their wines with a quick-and-easy sniff test before service. We are starting to suspect that many wine bars don’t bother, because people either don’t notice or people don’t say anything and just think that they don’t like that particular wine. In our opinion it doesn’t matter — serving wine that is corked, old, or spoiled in any way just isn’t cool.
In addition to their happy hour wines by the glass, Malaga is currently offering 10 whites, 15 reds, and 4 sparklers by the glass. Malaga also has an excellent selection of wines by the bottle. In fact, they’ve received an Award of Excellence from the Wine Spectator on three occasions. In addition to having plenty of wines to select from, Malaga’s 2x retail mark-up will let your wallet off a little easier than some other wine bars in town.
I like Malaga. The atmosphere is pleasing, and I think that their happy hour wine and tapas combination is one of the best deals in town. I suggest you stop by and check it out.