There are many types of vampires out there, and not all of them writhe to Peter Murphy in barely lighted clubs or serve as crushes for tween girls. Some are posh and well-heeled and carry black American Express cards.
"If you're a 500-year-old vampire, this is where you'd hang out, not the dive bars with the goth kids," says sommelier and manager Igor Fedenkov, referring to the Vampire Lounge, a cozy Beverly Hills wine-tasting room with décor that's more sunshine than "Twilight." The walls inside are painted buttery gold; the upstairs lounge has cutesy throw pillows on the couches. And mirrors are everywhere. It's almost as if the happiest lair on Earth had been designed to taunt your average reflection-dodging, light-avoiding Nosferatu.
Still, evil lurks in bottles of potent wines, ready to bleed out all your best intentions for tomorrow, if you let it. The Chateau du Vampire Midnight Rendezvous, in particular, is a stealthy blend of Syrah, Grenache and the more obscure Cournoise and Mourvèdre grapes.
The lounge, which opened in April, is the long-gestating project of Michael Machat, a trademark and copyright lawyer by day, and his wife, Lisa Dominique, a musician and writer. Meeting in Dominique's native England, the two stoked their courtship with prilgrimages to Transylvania starting in the early '90s. The Romanian birthplace of Vlad the Impaler and other storied vamps provided the stamping grounds for the early incarnation of Machat's Vampire Vineyards, now produced in Southern and Northern California wine country.