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Melanie Wine Bar
Photograph: Courtesy Wonho Frank LeeMelanie Wine Bar

The best wine bars in Los Angeles

Care for a glass of funky orange wine, or maybe something more conventional? The city's wine bars have you covered either way.

Edited by
Patricia Kelly Yeo
Contributors
Jonathan Thompson
&
Heather Platt
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These days, L.A. is up to its nose in natural winelists, and while that means everyone and their mother now considers themselves an expert in pet-nat, these particular bars offer the ideal combination of knowledgeable bartenders, diverse bottle selections and even great food. Though the atmosphere at these spots run the gamut from relaxed to slightly pretentious, the complex varietals you'll sip on will more than make up for whatever's missing. Whenever you're not in the mood for yet another upscale cocktail den or a rowdy brewery, these amazing wine bars will be more than happy to pour you a glass.

L.A.’s best wine bars

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

There's never a quiet night at this Los Feliz wine bar, where each of the 150 wines by the glass comes with a story to tell. Whatever you're in the mood for, an expertly trained member of the staff will make unique wine recommendations based on a few simple questions about your preferences and maybe an adjective or two (think: "fruity," "clean," "funky"). Then, your drink-slinger is off, pouring samples and drawing in the most serious of customers until they crack a smile and get something that’s just to their liking. Ask for a seat at Bar 1 for prime people watching, and discover a new wine from the ever-changing menu as you munch on standard fare like cheese and charcuterie.

  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Virgil Village

This Virgil Village wine bar has one of our favorite patios in the city—and the ever-changing list of small-producer and organic wines offers a compelling introduction to the now-ubiquitous world of pet-nat. Plus, Melody's ever-changing food pop-ups by local chefs and occasional vintner nights add flair to a drinking experience here; depending on which evening you stop in, you'll find anything from wood-fired pizzas to Southern-inspired Filipino food.  Some nights, especially in warmer weather, the converted Craftsman-style house is full-on scene, but the egalitarian ethos and approachable wines keep conversation flowing and vibes generally still quite good. As of late, Melody's resumed hosting live DJ sets on the weekends, plus an all-new Tuesday night drag show, for those who prefer a glass of wine or two with a little extra atmosphere.

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  • Restaurants
  • Californian
  • Beverly
  • price 3 of 4

Though Suzanne Goin's market-driven small plates might get the lion's share of the glory, this iconic Beverly Grove restaurant (with a second roomier outpost in Brentwood) is also one of the best places in town to enjoy a couple wines or three. Curated by co-owner Caroline Styne, the house wine list is dedicated to boutique producers of the unusual and eclectic (think: small production, biodynamic). A more condensed list is offered by the glass or carafe, for those who'd rather not buy an entire bottle. Take in all of the people-watching action from the indoor communal table among A.O.C.'s usually well-heeled crowd, or head to the charming patio decorated with string lights and plenty of greenery.

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

This bustling, always scene-y wine store is both a formidable New American restaurant and excellent wine bar—if you can get past the hour-long wait for a table. On any given night, Wally’s is bound to host at least one celebrity sighting, but you might also be dazzled by its 35-plus page wine list heavy on French and California selections. As far as wine bars go, Wally’s food and charcuterie offerings are top-tier. Chef Ryan Kluver’s robust menu includes everything from duck to rack-of-lamb to Wagyu steak in a variety of forms (massive 36-ounce bone-in Tomahawk, anyone?).

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  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • East Hollywood

With limited seating and absolutely no reservations, Lolo Wine Bar in East Hollywood is a hard sell for anyone trying to corral a group of friends who live across the city. For neighborhood locals, those willing to show up early and people who don’t mind having to wait, this gold-tinged natural wine bar with a small, chic checkered floor patio and excellent food menu is yours for the taking. Lolo's house-made pastas, market-fresh vegetables and other small plates rise beyond the standard wine bar charcuterie fare, all while paired with an extensive list of wine bottles and a few choice wines by the glass. They also operate a wine shop (pickup only), including 6-bottle and 12-bottle variety packs for the regular at-home drinker.

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

This Sherman Oaks wine bar specializes in some serious vintage varietals. Run in part by the owner of Los Feliz's Bar Covell, this slice of heaven in the Valley offers a rotating list of over 50 different labels from a collection that spans the globe. 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 at the “rare and vintage wines” chalkboard menu first. If you're feeling peckish, order up some tasty bar bites like tater tots and octopus carpaccio.

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

Light, bright and airy, Esters is the wine-oriented outpost of the Rustic Canyon Family, one of the most prolific restaurant groups in Santa Monica. Here, alongside a delicious market-driven food menu, in-house sommelier Randall Middleton oversees a selection of over 250 wines that include everything from unique small producers to tried-and-true classics. Those who'd rather order by the glass will find about 20, with France, Italy, Spain and the U.S. all represented through the thoughtful selection. On Sundays, Esters also offers up a rotating flight of four wines for those looking to up their wine knowledge.

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

Housed in an intimate space along West 3rd Street, this newer no-reservation neighborhood wine bar comes from Andy Paxson and Dave Gibbs, the same pair behind Augustine, Mirabelle and Sushi Note, a Valley omakase bar well-known for its wine pairings. Every bottle available by the glass on a list that spans red, white, orange, rosé and sparkling. Delicious fare like mussels in a silky coconut milk broth and tender hanger steak make the transition from a drink to dinner quite easy, though the staff is more than happy to uncork a bottle if you're only looking for a casual drink.

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

Echo Park has a surprisingly large number of natural wine bars for such a small neighborhood, but Bar Bandini remains our top pick for its dark, sexy and unpretentious ambience. 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. Bar Bandini's recently added selection of solid snacks makes it easy to spend a long night of drinking here—on Fridays and Saturdays, the bar's open until 2am.

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

Run by husband-and-wife duo Chris and Christy Lindgren Lucchese, this Glassell Park wine shop and bar is a convenient one-stop shop for neighborhood locals hoping to pick up a bottle for dinner or sip from a glass as they while the afternoon away on the hidden patio. The menu doesn’t stop with its curated selection of cheese and charcuterie: Seasonal plates like small-batch burrata with beets, homemade pappardelle with Italian sausage and duck leg confit make this a great date night destination in Northeast L.A.

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

Nestled on the far edge of Thai Town, this neighborhood wine bar offers ample space and plenty of booths for large groups. The wine list is funky and there's a decent snack selection, but what sets Tabula Rasa apart is the fact it's open until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays—a rarity among wine bars. A daily happy hour from 4 to 6pm nets you $7 glasses of house wine and $2 off all other varieties, making this place a boon for anyone looking for a discounted drinking experience near East Hollywood.

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

Since 2006, this Rose Avenue wine shop run by Norma Alvarado and Oscar Hermosillo has lit up Venice with a solid weekday happy hour (4–6pm, and all day on Mondays). Most nights of the week, the newer startup crowd and older, more artsy locals convene around communal tables—including one made from an old Oregon stump—for the Mediterranean-leaning food menu, over 20 wines by the glass, and plenty of cheese and charcuterie.

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

Hungry for some Good Clean Fun? We are too. Inside Downtown's Cognoscenti Coffee, this natural wine bar and micro-eatery is known for chef Jesus Ramirez-Arteaga's handmade pastas and luscious seafood plates as well as its extensive list of funky, affordable bottles. Since opening on 2021, occasional DJ sets and $15 wine flights on Wednesday evenings have drawn a neighborhood crowd hungry for GCF's major cool-kid vibes, with one major caveat: A jacket's all but essential on colder evenings, since the bar's limited seating is almost entirely outdoors.

 

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

This Downtown sparkling wine bar specializes in tinned fish, though the pair of owners—who also run nearby DTLA Cheese—aren't averse to mixing dairy and seafood in the same meal alongside the tightly curated list of bubbly by the glass. The compact space features a mirrored bar and mood lighting after dark, for those hoping to stare lovingly into someone else's eyes over some first-rate conservas.

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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, classic 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—with a couple of inexpensive options thrown in—you’ll be there awhile. Better settle in and order one of their impressive charcuterie boards.

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

Alongside Highland Park's many dive bars and taprooms, natural wine-oriented Holcomb offers the kind of vibe that's ideal for casual meet-ups and weekday evenings. With wood finishes and accent lighting, the space manages to be warm, welcoming and undeniably cool all at once. Though the food offerings are limited to cheese, charcuterie and snack plates, the wine list is extensive enough to keep any pet-nat lover in good spirits—think small-producer picks from Austria, Greece, and Czechia, though you'll find plenty of French and Californian vintners on the menu.

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