Find a wine bar in NYC
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.
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.
Craft beers and cocktails are the usual suspects on a bar’s tap line, but at this cozy, 550-square-foot haunt, 16 wines dominate the draft. The bottle-free setup isn’t only environmentally prudent (no labels or corks to dispose of) but also easier on the pocket: Production prices for tapped offerings are lower than the traditional bottled stuff, which means you can get a glass here for less than a latte.
Branch-offs can often snap under pressure, but Le Bernardin has sprung a stem as strong as its base. Sitting across the galleria from that vaulted seafood restaurant, Aldo Sohm’s annexed vino hub is far less buttoned-up than its big brother—no reservations or suit jackets required—but the level of detail here proves this apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
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).
You’ll need a magnifying glass to navigate the chalk-drawn wine list at this dimly lit vino depot, oddly named for Jack the Ripper’s hunting grounds. Happily, knowledgeable servers are there to help, and the collection of global organic wines—20ish glasses and more than 50ish bottles—rewards your troubles. Standouts have included Morocco’s fruit-forward Syrocco syrah or a floral Austrian Grüner Veltliner. Snacks are basic but tasty—stick to cold plates like oysters and tartares.
You'll find none of the typical wine-bar posturing at this Williamsburg spot, which ditches the trendy art and light jazz (relics of the '90s yuppie dens that first defined the genre) in favor of industrial accents (aluminum bar top, plumber's-pipe shelves) and old-school hip-hop. You might not even peg it as a wine bar until you spy the big wooden toolbox behind the bar, which doubles as a storage case for Old World wines served by the glass. The list is tight and well focused, with reasonable prices and some choice picks from co-owner Fabrizio Pirolo, a former distributor.
Crystal River Williams and Denise Plowman (both of Norma’s Café) pair snacks like shiitake-mushroom turnovers and cheese plates with organic wines (Herron Hill, Damiani), regional beers (Sixpoint, Ommegang) and their own house-brewed Mexican chocolate stout.
Inspired by the portside towns and taverns in Italy, the executive chef at Porto Salvo, Luigi Ghidetti, is replicating the watering holes from his hometown Terracina with this nautical wine bar and restaurant. Decor in the South Bronx locale includes a hanging 1920s diver's helmet replica, port holes in the wall, a captain’s wheel and wooden buoys.
Dive deep into the all-natural trend at this sulfite-free–champing Cobble Hill bar. The romantic, railroad-style room rouses ’20s-era Midnight in Paris vibes, with curved oxblood banquettes, globe light fixtures and a marble-top bar canopied with hanging stemmed glasses, so it’s no surprise that the wine list operates largely in the Gallic canon, with European vintages offered by glass, quartino, bottle or “big bottle” (that would be one-and-a-half liters).