Looking for a great wine bar? Whether you're on a first date and looking for somewhere romantic or meeting up with friends to spill the tea, wine canteens are a rapidly growing local obsession among New York barflies. The rise of haute cocktails and homegrown craft beer bars may have once stolen wine's thunder with the masses, but grape aficionados haven't retreated into their cellars to sulk.
Instead, they've reinvented the genre, tossing out stuffy pretenses, pushing farther out into Brooklyn and creating funky, affordable vin lists paired with chef-driven bar fare. From the West Village to Williamsburg, sip and swirl your way through the best wine bars in NYC.
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Back when it opened in 2015, June helped put natural wine on Brooklynites’ radar. Today, interesting bottles continue to add to the allure of the ’20s-era Midnight in Paris vibes. With its curved oxblood banquettes, globe light fixtures and stemmed glasses hanging over a marble bar top, June is endlessly romantic.
Look beyond the tongue-tying menu of grapes, and you’ll discover a bar that’s sophisticated enough for snobby oenophiles but still approachable for the rest of us. Drinking champagne during Tracksuit Tuesdays as we snack on the Cacio e Popcorn? Pour us another one.
Sitting across the galleria from the celebrated seafood restaurant Le Bernardin, Aldo Sohm’s annexed vino hub is far less buttoned up than its big brother—no reservation or jacket required—but the level of detail here proves that this apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
From the team behind Henry’s, one of Brooklyn’s best wine shops, Petra is outfitted in terrazzo and millennial pink but doesn’t feel overdone. Given the outstanding selection of natural wines that nicely complement the Mediterranean fare, Petra is an elegant pregame spot before a night out in Bushwick.
By today’s standards, natural wines are hardly innovative. But Ten Bells was one of the first to set the trend with a roster of global pours. This vino depot is, oddly, named for Jack the Ripper’s hunting grounds, but you should be safe in the hands of the spot’s knowledgeable bartenders.
Even in places like Los Angeles, wine programs that focus only on California-grown natural pours are surprisingly rare. Now, New York has gained a natural-wine destination that’s a love letter to the Golden State—and it has 100-plus bottles to prove it.
Alphabet City Wine Co. owners Nora O’Malley and Phoebe Connell have opened a cozy den next to their East Village shop. Here, it’s not about wine-label graphics or foamy champagne pours. Wine is served on tap without pretension. What follows is a bar that’s great for conversation and cuddling up.
Restaurants and gay bars dotting Ninth Avenue for a Hell’s Kitchen wine bar that feels sleek yet casual. Founder Mandy Oser offers a balanced selection of old and new world wines—by the glass or bottle—from around the globe. Try something new and order small plates to share.
You can find a slice of la dolce vita at this restaurant–wine bar with a short but impressive list that’s focused on lesser-known producers. Owned by a Harlem native, this homey neighborhood spot could be your new best friend.
When Terroir first opened, it was unlike any other bar—for example, the wine lists were presented in three-ring binders covered with stickers and cartoons. Sommelier Paul Grieco, decked out in tattoos and a goatee, expounds upon the virtues of the then-maligned riesling. Today, fans keep coming back for whatever he pours.
Located two doors down from the Lower East Side restaurant Contra, the much lauded Wildair is an altogether scrappier beast. The industrial room’s idea of ornament is a few spare shelves stocked with bottles of natural wines along the exposed-brick walls. Those vinos, brimming with funk and farm, are the focus of wine director Sam Anderson's nearly 150-selection list, a user-friendly lineup broken down simply by reds, whites and pét-nat (a.k.a. sparkling).
It can be hard for a drinkery to stand out in already-saturated Williamsburg, but it’s a lot easier when there’s a certified rock star behind it. At this natural-focused restaurant and vino bar, the big name in question is James Murphy, frontman of the beloved—and recently reunited—dance outfit LCD Soundsystem.
Perhaps no hospitality mind better channels the West Village's starry-eyed appeal than Gabriel Stulman who has worked his magic touch yet again on Fairfax. And the effortlessly chic West Village groupies have set up shop: Fashionable twentysomethings congregate in the midcentury-modern apartment layout decorated with worn leather couches, tchotchke-filled bookshelves and succulents that line the window sills. Wine lovers will rejoice at the European list sprinkled with some atypical grape selections (romé from Spain, grüner veltliner from Austria).
This new Prospect Heights wine bar and restaurant highlights lesser-seen European natural wines. LaLou takes its name from Lalou Bize-Leroy, a "trailblazing" Burgundy winemaker. LaLou is run by four partners: Joe Campanale (owner of Fausto), Dave Foss (former Anfora Wine Buyer), Ilyssa Satter (who oversees creative direction) and executive chef, Ashley Rath (formerly of The Grill, Santina and Dirty French). The space is simple yet elegant in it’s small details: even the light fixtures made from mycelium by MushLume feel fancy and are a nod to restaurants focus on sustainablity; the concrete bar is meant to reference the material often used to age wine. Bar food includes fried olives, zucchini escabeche and potato dumplings with lemon Sorrento butter sauce, among others. Dishes are meant to pair well with the of 150+ bottles and by-the-glass wine options.
This Italian wine bar and restaurant from Manhattan’s Massimo Felici (La Nonna, Ribollita) is elegantly understated with house-baked breads and pastries, small Italian plates (meatballs, burrata) and vintages from Italy and California from the glass or bottle.
New York's Francophiles have no shortage of places to go for Gallic comforts. But one French institution that's a bit harder to come by is the bistro vins—the type of humble, caflike watering hole where you might while away a Paris afternoon sipping beaujolais. For a taste of what you've been missing, head to Vin Sur Vingt, which has been quietly charming West Village oenophiles.
The team behind the Dell’Anima unveiled this neighboring wine bar in 2010. The international selection includes roughly 100 bottles (with about 25 available by the glass), many of which hail from organic, biodynamic and sustainable vineyards. Those who prefer something harder can choose from a frequently changing cocktail menu.
Jockey for a seat at this narrow enoteca, marked by a long marble bar, a piddling five tables and a menu of choice Italian nibbles to go with the all-Italian wine list. Then attack the menu. Divided into salumi and cheese on one side, and prepared bites on the other, it provides multiple opportunities for memorable bites.
This Forest Hills wine bar specializes in local New York bottles divided into “Classic,” “Interesting,” “Unusual” and “Wine Cocktails.” Pair your glasses with meats, cheeses and plenty of vegetarian options.
Find four on-tap house blends, along with champagne cocktails, craft beer (Bell's Amber Ale, Tröegs Perpetual IPA) and Murray's cheese and charcuterie, at this LIC wine bar.
Joining cool-kid spots like Rockaway Taco and Rippers, the Rockaway's first wine bar brings a bougie element to the 'hood's food scene. The brainchild of local surfer Rashida Jackson and artist Patrick Flibotte, the 28-seat shoreside drinkery showcases seasonal vino from hang-ten regions around the world: chardonnay from Cali's Sonoma Coast, sauvignon blanc from New Zealand's Sandy Cove and cava from Catalonia, Spain.