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Garçons de Café
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

The best wine bars in Los Angeles

In the mood for some quality vino? Sniff, swirl and sip your way through the best wine bars in the city.

Written by
Jonathan Cristaldi
,
Stephanie Breijo
&
Heather Platt
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Moody lighting, knowledgeable bartenders, excellent pours—there’s a lot that goes into creating a top-notch wine bar. In L.A., cocktail bars and beer bars are aplenty, but there are also fantastic boîtes offering quality reds, whites and everything in between. Whether you’re an aficionado, newbie or just someone looking for a great first-date spot, this town has you covered. Winos, check out our top picks of the city’s best wine bars and dig in your heels.

L.A.’s best wine bars

  • Restaurants
  • Californian
  • Beverly
  • price 3 of 4

Caroline Styne and Suzanne Goin have created a beautiful restaurant and wine bar with AOC, where it is just as much a destination to sample unique wines as it is to enjoy dinner. Styne’s wine list is dedicated to boutique producers of the unusual and eclectic (think: small production, biodynamic), with a condensed list of wines by the glass or carafe, ranging from $12 to $40. No cute water glasses here—serious wine drinkers can appreciate the aromas and flavors in proper wine glasses, better appreciated with Goin’s signature seasonal, Cal-Med small plates. Take in all of the people-watching action from the communal table alongside the well-heeled crowd.

  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Echo Park
  • price 2 of 4

Dark, sexy and surprisingly unpretentious, Bar Bandini is the neighborhood wine bar Echo Park didn’t know it needed. A curated selection of natural and organic wines and beers is listed on black letter boards, both legible and imposing in scale. Dark painted walls, suede banquettes and black slate surfaces are balanced with rustic exposed wood, conducive to both date nights and catching up with friends. There’s no food menu, but the barkeeps are more than happy to let you order delivery right to the bar; also, keep your eyes peeled for food pop-ups and collabs, such as a Edna Jane’s BBQ or a breakfast event with Belle’s Bagels.

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  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Santa Monica
  • price 3 of 4

This wine shop and bar is light, bright and airy, with its impressive inventory visibly stocked to the ceiling on the surrounding shelves. Some 250 wines are for sale by the bottle, and about 20 by the glass in the bar, with France, Italy, Spain and the U.S. all represented through the thoughtful selection. Wine aficionados looking to splurge, schmooze and be seen while they sip will do just fine here, but if you’re on a budget, you might flinch at the sight of Esters’ by-the-glass wine prices—and especially at the bottle prices. But the quality isn’t just found in the wine; it’s also in the ambience. The outdoor patio offers a breezy option for glamorous alfresco imbibing, and don’t forget to pair your vino with fine cheeses and charcuterie.

  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Sherman Oaks
  • price 3 of 4

This Sherman Oaks wine bar specializes in some serious vintage varietals. Bar Covell’s Dustin Lancaster, along with Dave Gibbs, carved out a little slice of heaven from a former Brats Brothers along Ventura Boulevard, now complete with black truffle cheese plates, $6 tater tots and some of the rarest vino you’ll find in the Valley, let alone the entire L.A. area. There’s a rotating list of more than 50 varieties by the glass from a collection that occasionally dates back to the 19th century, including gems like Jansz’s Australian sparkling rosé. Intimate two-tops and low lighting make this a prime date spot—it doesn’t get more romantic than comparing notes on a $30 glass of 1983 Vichon cabernet sauvignon. Our tip? Always look to the “rare and vintage wines” chalkboard menu first.

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  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Los Feliz
  • price 2 of 4

There’s never a quiet night at Dustin Lancaster’s Los Feliz den of wines, which all have a story to tell. Staff are as deft in wine speak as they are in steering the consumer toward a happy pour of wine (or bottle) based off a few adjectives—think: “dry,” “complex,” “soft”—that’ll take them to the right selection for you. Ask for a seat at Bar 1 for prime people watching, and discover a new wine from the ever-changing menu. A limited food menu of wine- and beer–friendly items like cheese and charcuterie help satiate wine geeks and amateur enthusiasts alike.

  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Beverly

Marvin is a neighborhood spot, a place where Beverly Boulevard locals come for a hearty plate of rigatoni bolognese, oysters and a bottle of wine to share. But if you don’t live in the area—and you’re a true fan of wine—it’s also a worthwhile destination for glasses of white, red, rosé and bubbles, especially during its killer weekday happy hour. With around 120 bottles available—and that’s not including the impressive selection of sherry—it can almost feel overwhelming, but don’t worry; the staff is always good for a recommendation or four. Rolling nine deep or more? Book the family-style prix-fixe special at $55 per person and pick and choose from pomodoro pastas, steak tartare, roast chicken and more. This is absolutely the spot to bring your friends.

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  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Chinatown
  • price 3 of 4

Oriel is a must-visit for lovers of French wine and stylish places to perch. Follow the glow of soft pink neon to this cozy, comfortable wine bar that’s as dotted with plants as it is solo imbibers, families and trendy denizens on dates. Tucked away from the neighborhood’s main drags, this spot’s almost hidden beneath the Chinatown Metro stop but manages to whisk you away to France with roughly 20 wines by the glass. The petite spot keeps a French focus not only on its vino, but its food: French onion soup, roasted bone marrow, escargots and gnocchi à la Parisienne all round out the menu of Paris-comfort classics.

  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Downtown Historic Core
  • price 2 of 4

Prepare to be charmed by Santos Uy’s intimate Parisian-style wine bar turned bistro. Rich, midnight blue walls, pressed tin ceiling and bookended hardbacks alongside framed portraits on shelves set the homey atmosphere, as a friendly staff pour about 15 palate-friendly bottles of small-production, natural wines mostly from France, Italy, Germany and Spain. The tiny DTLA space doubles as a retail shop, so if you really like a wine by the glass, take a bottle home or peruse the selection displayed on shelves in the front of the bar. If you’re looking for a bite, there are reasonably priced small plates, cheese and charcuterie.

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  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Virgil Village

This breezy, “lazy French” wine bar not only offers some of the city’s funkiest, most fun pours—it’s also got the best spot to sip them. This repurposed Craftsman home in Virgil Village is now a breezy wine bar that pumps vinyl playlists and laid-back vibes onto one of L.A.’s best patios (though inside is just as charming). Small-producer and organic wines are the name of the game here, and you’re just as likely to catch vintner talks and appearances as you are killer DJ sets. Hungry? You’ll find food pop-ups like the occasional Little Fish fried fish sandwiches, La Sorted’s Pizzeria or ongoing ones like Malli, the Mexican inspired Jewish menu by chef Elizabeth Heitner, Thursday through Saturday nights.

  • Shopping
  • Liquor stores
  • Beverly Hills
  • price 2 of 4

Last-minute birthday gifts, hostess presents, “I’m-sorry-I-forgot-our-anniversary” peace offerings—you can find all of these at Héritage Fine Wines in Beverly Hills, a veritable catalog of fine French wine, from Champagne to Provence to the Rhône Valley. The shop holds wine tastings, offers a wine club for those who need bottles on the reg, and sells gourmet cheeses, bread and other food to accompany their pours. This is Beverly Hills’ one-stop shop, and is even home to the occasional John Legend wine pop-up and performance

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  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Glassel Park
  • price 2 of 4

Husband and wife Chris and Christy Lindgren Lucchese own and operate this Glassell Park wine shop and bar. The spot opens in the early afternoon, convenient for those picking up a bottle for dinner or stopping by for an afternoon pour on the lovely enclosed patio. The menu doesn’t stop with its curated selection of cheese and charcuterie: Seasonal plates like heirloom tomatoes and burrata, homemade pasta bolognese and duck breast with German potato salad make this a one-stop date night destination.

  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Thai Town
  • price 2 of 4

Snuggle up in a welcoming booth or snag a seat with your date along the banquet in this neighborhood East Hollywood bar where knowledgeable bartenders pour organic, biodynamic natural wines from small producers. The chill vibes are relaxing and the snacks are satisfying (think: smoked organic chicken wings, hot soft pretzels with mustard and Cuban sandwiches). The popular spot also offers sake, beer, cider and happy hour every day from 4 to 6pm.

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  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Downtown Historic Core

Planted firmly but quietly in the Spring Arcade Building, Garçons de Café is a Francophile haven—and an oft overlooked one. This cozy and classique wine bar gives off strong bistro vibes with tables for two, a long marble bar, and tile inlay on that industrial-chic concrete floor. But the undeniable star is the wines, often organic, and hailing from Loire, Rhône, Bordeaux and even Roussillon, to name but a few. With more than 60 options—some as inexpensive as $8 by the glass—you’ll be there awhile. Better settle in and order one of their impressive charcuterie boards.

  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Downtown Arts District
  • price 2 of 4

This wine bar and retail store’s nestled on an enchanting, neighborhood block where owner and wine pro Lorena Porras worked as a wine distributor for eight years. Now, she offers global wines she’s passionate about from small-production, family-owned winemakers. The atmosphere is derived from the friendly, easy-going staff who’ll help you decide on a wine by the glass, bottle or flight, with varietals rotating monthly at minimum. If you really liked a wine you tasted, grab it off the shelf and take it home for more imbibing. Join locals at the intimate bar or patio, or drop in for this wine bar’s monthly trivia night, “Wine School’ed.”

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  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Highland Park
  • price 2 of 4

In this Highland Park natural wine bar, Dustin Lancaster (Bar Covell) and co-owners Ross Stephenson and Michael Black have created the ideal vibe. With wood finishes, the space is at once warm, welcoming and undeniably cool. The food menu is limited to a small selection of cheese, charcuterie and snack plates, but the wines are extensive and bartenders are happy to pour tastes to guide you in the right direction.

  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Beverly Hills
  • price 3 of 4

This giant Beverly Hills wine store is both a formidable New American restaurant, bustling wine bar and an all-around scene. Dine on the patio and admire a 35-plus page wine list that’s heavy on French and California selections, though Oregon, Spanish and Italian bottles are also available. As far as wine bars go, Wally’s food is top-tier with a robust menu from executive chef Ryan Kluver that includes everything from duck to rack-of-lamb to Wagyu steak in a variety of forms (massive 36-ounce bone-in Tomahawk, anyone?). The Beverly Hills crowd is well-heeled and on any given night, fit for celebrity sightings.

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  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • San Fernando Valley
  • price 2 of 4

The romantic patio at this Valley Village gem is the ideal place to drink a selection of California and French wines. Complete the night by pairing your pours with New York Strip steak, Niman Ranch pork chops with black lentils, or a variety of other savory options from their robust dinner menu.

  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • West Third Street
  • price 2 of 4

This adorable West 3rd Street newcomer comes from Andy Paxson and Dave Gibbs, the minds behind Sushi Note, Augustine Wine Bar and Mirabelle Wine Bar. The entire wine list is available by the glass, and a French and Italian-inspired menu is designed to pair well with the curated list that focuses on California, French, Spanish and Italian wines.

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  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Chinatown
  • price 1 of 4

Old World wines get all the shine, and while there’s good reason for it, our own coast is often sadly neglected in the process. Enter LA WINE, a charming, minimalist wine bar in the heart of Chinatown’s Blossom Plaza. Brought to us by David DeLuca—he of Ham & Eggs Tavern fame—this spot serves a seasonal menu of exclusively California wines at affordable prices, with a small selection of snacks and beers, to boot. Taste something you love? Bring a bottle home for $10 off the listed cost. Stop by during happy hour for fun specials, such as the Miller High Life and shot-of-sherry boilermaker combo, and don’t neglect that patio, either.

  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Venice
  • price 2 of 4

The smoky scent of grilled panini and pizzas fills the interior and tented patio space at Norma Alvarado and Oscar Hermosillo’s casual and intimate neighborhood wine bar. There are about 20 wines by the glass, ranging in prices, regions and varietals, as well as small plates, entrées and lunch specials on the Mediterranean-leaning food menu. Venice’s eclectic, artsy crowd convenes around communal tables—opt for the table made from an old Oregon stump—for weekday happy hour from 3 to 6pm, tastings and monthly wine-club selections.

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  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • West Hollywood
  • price 2 of 4

Sitting rather indiscreetly on a quaint street just off bustling Santa Monica Boulevard, this open, lofty wine bar and retail outfit takes its name after a V-shaped white marble bar that commands the center of the room with an olive tree that holds court in the center of the bar. Booths and comfortable armchairs are tucked away on either side, while high-top tables for parties of four or eight fill the room. Owner “Mikey” Consbruck has curated his list to feature wines from boutique producers he knows personally, weaving each winemaker’s story into every pour. You’ll not only get fruit and floral descriptions, but also short, memorable anecdotes about these small production wines from the staff.

  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Burbank
  • price 2 of 4

Between the top-notch vino and engaging staff, this Magnolia Park gem is just the boîte to awaken your palate. The staff has put together a score of excellent varietals of 20 to 30 by the glass—all between $8 and $30, and all available in the retail shop—and guests would be remiss not to sip these alongside small plates off the carefully curated American-Mediterranean menu. Try the charcuterie and cheese boards, the polenta cakes with manchego, and the melty capicola grilled cheese sandwich. Take advantage of group tasting events, and if you’re a Burbank resident, show them your ID for locals’ discounts.

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