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Fulton, Fairmont Austin
Photograph: Courtesy Fulton Fairmont Austin

The best wine bars in Austin right now

Whether you’re into red, rosé, white or sparkling (or all of the above), here are the best wine bars in Austin

James Wong
Written by
James Wong
Contributor
Veronica Meewes
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Austin is a great city for booze. That shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, what the city’s penchant for hard rock and harder partying, but the bar scene here really needs to be experienced to be believed. Cocktail bars, dive bars, hotel bars, rooftop bars, they are all here and they are all buzzing. What about wine bars in Austin? You better believe it. Oenophiles are in for a treat in Bat City.

The wine bar scene in Austin covers a whole lot of ground, from swanky downtown spots all the way to charming bistros serving up decadent bites with a glass of Burgundy by candlelight. If that scene doesn’t whet your whistle, we’re not entirely sure why you’ve clicked on an article titled ‘Best Wine Bars in Austin’, but that’s for you to work out. For the wine-friendly readers, make a beeline for these places, pronto.

RECOMMENDED: the best bars in Austin

Best wine bars in Austin, ranked

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • Zilker
  • price 2 of 4

Once a boutique decor shop, Aviary traded in its quaint treasures and furniture for bottles of wine and seriously good small plates. Wise choice: the wine bar and restaurant is now a bonafide South Austin gem and a date night hot spot. Stop by for glasses (or bottles) of red, white and bubbly from their extensive list, paired deliciously with food menu items like the Aviary ‘ramen’ egg or the Porkbelly (soubise, soy-braised oyster mushrooms and basil).

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Bouldin Creek
  • price 3 of 4

Lenoir’s dining room is one of the most romantic spots in Austin and its wine garden in the back plays along, creating a magical atmosphere thanks to trees strung with fairy lights. Wine selections arrive on a short, well-curated list balanced almost precisely between the Old and New Worlds, which means you’ll have to decide between a glass of Lambrusco from Modena or a can of rosé from California. Or, you know, just drink both.

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Not everything on the dirty sixth is dirty. Devil May Care is unlike anything else on the scene, a shiny underground throwback to Gatsby glam of Manhattan, where you can sip fine wine in the rhythmic excitement of live jazz, the company of sophisticated black-tie gents, and the sultry allure of candle lighting. The wine list is thoughtfully curated with international picks, and you’ll even find some rare-for-ATX premium labels such as Armand de Brignac - this is Texan wine o’clock, upgraded. Devil May Care hosts a variety of events and specials year-round from Halloween balls to New Year parties, so be sure to follow their socials.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • South River City
  • price 2 of 4

Boasting marble counters and a retro jukebox, June’s All Day is named after master sommelier (and McGuire-Moorman Hospitality beverage director) June Rodil. You better believe the wine list is top-notch and constantly changing. Rodil and sommelier Emily Blackman have turned the reserve list into a hand-drawn zine to help educate guests on wines, wine regions and winemaking methods.

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • South River City
  • price 2 of 4

Since opening as a gas station on the access road of I-35 in 1986, Whip In has morphed into a convenience store, live music venue and gastropub serving Indian-TexMex and pouring craft beer. In more recent years, a wine program has been built and the short-but-sweet list (curated by Rae Wilson, owner of Wine for the People and Dandy Rosé) packs a punch with lesser-known selections like South African Chenin Blanc, Greek Agiorgitiko and Portuguese bubbles.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Bouldin Creek
  • price 2 of 4

This warm and inviting little South Austin wine bar features a smart and well-priced wine list that includes some refreshing Texas-grown grapes (an element sorely lacking from most of Austin’s local wine bars), as well as Californian and Italian options. Pair your glass or bottle with a few of Winebelly's fantastic snacks, including duck bruschetta, patatas bravas and grilled broccolini with burrata.

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Who would have thought a Japanese restaurant could have a wine list so extensive and exciting, that it’s worth coming here for drinks alone (ok ok, perhaps a side of sashimi too, then). The bar carries a huge list of European whites that pair wonderfully with fresh seafood, as well as stellar global reds, rosés and champagnes. Inquire about Japanese plum wine, as often the restaurant has off-menu goodies shipped in, and if not they have a brilliant selection of sake (arranged by ‘fruity’, ‘bold’ and ‘refreshing’). Happy hour runs weekdays, 5-6pm, with half-off specialty cocktails, wine, sake and house spirits.

Have a meeting that clashes with happy hour? Then take it to Fulton. The lobby bar of the Fairmont Austin has enough business chic to carry any professional Rendez-Vous, without the stuffiness. Choose from local Texas Hill Country wines, or journey to the valleys of Napa, Tuscany, and because we can’t resist bubbles, Champagne. Despite occupying the window-side of a modern hotel, you’ll still be able to sip under nature’s greens if you nab a table by Fulton’s remarkable indoor Texan oak tree.

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Elegant hotel and wine go hand in hand, so press an outfit and book a table at The Driskill’s old-world Texan bar at the top of the lobby’s grand staircase. Here you’ll browse a rich selection of domestic and imported wines in the comfort of rustic leather couches, or, at the counter cowhide barstools, whilst being serenaded by local musicians. Our pick of the wines on offer is the Penner-Ash from Willamette Valley, OR - an exquisite pinot noir that’s light and floral on the nose with a refreshing undercurrent of stone fruit and a hint of cinnamon.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Northwest Hills
  • price 1 of 4

Chinatown has one of the biggest and best selections of wine in town. Owner and restaurateur Ronald Cheng is a connoisseur and so handpicks the 200 labels (and 2,000 bottles) found at his Greystone location, where orders can be made upstairs in the dining room or downstairs in Street, his casual Asian street food-inspired hangout.

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Ain’t nothing like a chilled glass of white out on the patio on a hot southern evening. Ellis has a sweet selection of affordable whites, reds, rosés and bubbles, which can be enjoyed at the sleek counter or around the big Texas Oak Tree with a cheeky snack from the adjoined Fareground food hall. Our go-to’s are the Fattoria Sardi Rosé, a delicious organic, and the Iron + Sand cabernet sauvignon from Paso Robles.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • East Cesar Chavez
  • price 2 of 4

It’s no secret that the Neapolitan pizza at Bufalina is some of the best in town. In fact, most people would never even categorize Bufalina as a wine bar because of its widely acclaimed food menu. But there’s actually no better spot to linger with a stemmed glass than the intimate wine bar at the Cesar Chavez location. And while you’d expect a primarily Italian list, Bufalina’s includes Germany Rieslings, French Burgundy and even two different sherry selections (an oloroso and manzanilla, which make for unexpected yet delightful pizza pairings).

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Bars
  • Bouldin
  • price 2 of 4

This aptly named Zilker wine bar feels as cozy as hanging out at a friend’s house if that friend happens to be a wine expert. Sink into a couch and choose from over a hundred wines by the glass, organized with detailed tasting notes like “rich, creamy, nutty” or “full-body, subtle fruit, rustic, herbal.” The venue also offers unique wine cocktails, flights, cheese plates, pizzas and playful dessert options like table side s’mores and chocolate fondue.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • West End
  • price 3 of 4

Though this fine-dining mainstay is known for its tasting menu with wine pairings, regulars know to drop into the more laid-back adjacent wine bar, where knowledgable bartenders guide you in selecting from a rotating list of reasonably priced glasses, bottles and flights. Bar appetizers like truffled mac and cheese, Brie burgers and PEI mussels are not to be missed - especially from 5-7 pm, Wednesday through Saturday, when they drop to half price for happy hour.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Market District
  • price 2 of 4

This Westlake neighborhood wine bar has now grown to three locations (including one downtown and one in South Austin). And though the incredible namesake oak grove at the original couldn’t be replicated, the other two locations do feature the same well-priced list of glasses and bottles, plus ten different themed flights. In addition to pizza, the menu features plenty of dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options designed to pair with the wines.

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