Walk into James Murphy’s Scandinavian-fitted watering hole and chuckle about how just a decade ago, the former LCD Soundsystem frontman was tearing up downtown with genre-blurring rock. The reformed bandleader has since sung his final note with the dance-punk darlings, and his 40-seat vino den—a joint endeavor with his wife, Christina Topsøe, partner Randy Moon and wine consultant Justin Chearno—trades that edge for laid-back elegance with minimalist woods and soft smiles. A focused small-plates menu by ex-Franny’s chef Nick Curtola and wine curations by Chearno and general manager Amanda McMillan cater to an easygoing, thick-frames-sporting crowd.
ORDER THIS: Though there are just 13 by-the-glass varieties listed on the menu at any given time, intrepid oenophiles and first-timers alike can explore one of the city’s most comprehensive selections of 250 natural and biodynamic wines. Need-to-taste pours include a subtle cream-hued Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Orthogneiss from Domaine de l’Ecu ($13) and a full-bodied Bois-Rouge cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon blend from Domaine Mosse ($13). Not to be overlooked, beer drinkers can find rare Brooklyn Brewery suds including the Galahad ($26) and a bespoke draft called the Shallows ($6).
GOOD FOR: A wind-down glass of wine and pair-as-you-please snacks. Sneaker-wearing server-somms will rattle off informal tasting notes pointing you in the right direction, but take all the liberties you want with Curtola’s vegetable-heavy offerings, the most memorable of which is summer peas blanketed in shaved ricotta salata and Calabrian chile ($14) that marries nicely with a California-sourced Les Lunes chardonnay and Colombard blend ($14). Move on to fuller-bodied reds as you tuck into meatier plates, like fermented sausage atop crème fraîche ($16) or beef meatballs floating in duck broth ($22).
THE CLINCHER: You’re sipping wine in Murphy’s house, and it certainly feels like home. Cedar ceiling slats and decorative burlap sacks double as acoustics-enhancing sound absorbers for a crowd-pleasing playlist of equal parts Van Morrison and Kate Bush. Warmly personalized touches—cutlery from Murphy and Topsøe’s wedding, eucalyptus-scented bath towels—invite you to stay for another glass. If this is what the apocalypse looks like, sign us up.