Like tattooing your current flame’s name on your arm, choosing a sub-par wine bar is a decision you will most likely regret. We may not be able to choose who we love, but we can certainly choose where we indulge in a carefully crafted fermented grape. Here are my top NYC picks.
Upper East Side, represent! Opened in 2005, Uva is a staple in my neighborhood where you are less likely to find tourists and/or the post-work crowd (shhh! Don’t tell too many people…). The food is excellent, especially their Meatball Monday menu, which never disappoints. In addition to a comprehensive, quality wine list, they have a fair amount of beer choices as well.
While you may not find the best prices here (glasses of wine start at $10 USD), you will find a rustic atmosphere with fantastic Italian eats to pair with their high caliber wine list. The cheese plates are a perfect pairing if you’re not in the mood for a full meal, and their stem less glasses are a nice touch to the rustic vibe that will make you feel like you’re relaxing at a friend’s flat. In Tuscany… There are two locations in NYC currently, and they will be opening a location in Lucca, Italy as well.
This wine and chocolate bar (need I say more?) will satisfy any wine lovers’ craving. With over 90 wines to choose from, they run specials fairly regularly, including a free chocolate martini shot if you book a reservation online. Although, I would go with a glass of their red wine and a Belgian covered chocolate covered strawberry, personally… there is a fairly heavy flow of after work drinkers at their midtown location, while their West Village location gives you slightly more space on a weeknight.
In spite of the lack of creativity in the name, Wine Bar is a great East Village hang with 40 eclectic wines by the glass. While Wine Bar is a small bar, they include hip touches like a floor to ceiling wall of wine bottles, and small vases of fresh flowers at their community tables. It gets VERY crowded on the weekends, so this spot is best to hit during the week if you want to avoid claustrophobia, unless you’re lucky enough to snag a seat at their outdoor tables (weather permitting, of course).
Don’t let the Jack the Ripper reference scare you… This all organic wine bar is another place where you aren’t going to find too many tourists, and not only because this cozy spot only seats 30. Their happy hour features oysters for $1! Each time I’ve been, the staff has been very friendly and extremely knowledgeable. In fact, I’ve never even looked at their slightly overwhelming wine list – I just ask for a suggestion from the bartender and I’ve never been disappointed. That’s the silver lining with these tiny joints; once you’re in, you’re in.
Stick with me, kids! I won’t steer you wrong. Salute!