Every shop's stock of booze pales in comparison to the famed downtown Spec's, where enthusiasts can spend hours browsing among the thousands of bottles of wine from every region of every alcohol-producing nation in the world. But most people don't have hours to browse, and the massive selection can overwhelm the average couple-of-liters-a-week consumer. Not to mention, for example, the impossibility of distinguishing between the 436 varieties of cabernet with hints of currant and blackberry, or calculating the subtle differences between a 90 and a 91 rating by Wine Spectator. A more manageable but equally satisfying option can be found at the satellite Spec's on Holcombe, which offers no small selection of vintage wines, real ales and superior spirits to choose from, yet can be navigated during a lunch break or rush hour. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly, and the place retains the snobless, relaxed atmosphere of its big brother. Though ideal for that perfect, affordable complement to the evening meal, the Holcombe Spec's is happy to accommodate if only a three-figure burgundy, rare single-malt scotch or other showpiece will do.


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