Bom Bolla

At the end of my college career, I spent one glorious semester in beautiful Barcelona, Spain, where I got to know about the native wine of the country's Catalonia region quite intimately. There, a love of cava was born that has stuck with me ever since. The answer to my Spanish wine-loving prayers has mercifully arrived in the form of Bom Bolla, a new cava bar in Wicker Park.

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What is cava, you may be asking yourself. Though an experienced sommelier could give a much more thorough description, this is my version: it's a mix between a still white wine and a champagne. It's right in the middle - not too bubbly. Just enough for a refreshing pop in your mouth. Now I'm making myself thirsty again...

Bom Bolla was the brainchild of the owners of Pops for Champagne, a champagne bar in River North. I can't image a better restaurant group to make this specialized wine bar be the best it can.

Best twenty bucks you'll spend this month.

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I went to Bom Bolla with some good friends for work on a recent Friday evening. The bar was popping with a large crowd enjoying happy hour and the beginning of the weekend. We were seated at a communal table by the window. There isn't a whole lot of room in Bom Bolla, but I wouldn't say that's a bad thing. I think they're replicating the allure of the small bars in Spain, where you sit close to your companions and engage in conversation. There's also plenty of room around the bar to sit - and plenty of food to gawk at. As my friend urgently stated while waiting for the rest of us to get there, "They put me in front of the cheese!" She managed to control the urge to indulge in one of my favorites (Manchego cheese), but that didn't stop us from ordering delectable pork-fat almonds and Spanish chorizo.

Don't come to Bom Bolla with an empty stomach. The food is meant to be a snack, like bar food with a Spanish twist. It's delicious and uber-authentic - but it won't fill you up. Order a couple small plates and you'll be set for a comfortable meal.

Escargot the Catalan way

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Do come to Bom Bolla with an open mind and a taste for the good stuff. Cava is mostly by the bottle, with prices ranging around $40-60. There are glasses in the $9-11 range, which is what my companions and I opted for. I've had my fair share of Spanish cava, and the cava at Bom Bolla was every bit as delightful as other varieties. I'll definitely be back for a bottle next time!

Have you had a chance to check out Bom Bolla yet?