Wine bars have always been around in New York, and there’s always been a solid one to frequent throughout the years. But if past times have been good for wine bars, right now is great, with more spots than ever before serving interesting bottles from small producers and underrated regions. And in a place like New York where the culinary competition is so fierce, it also means that the small plates served at these wine bars are typically excellent.
Here’s a list of our picks for best wine bars in NYC right now. Note that we didn’t include spots that we think of more as restaurants, like Wildair, The Four Horsemen and Winona’s. These 12 particular wine bars really focus on what’s in your glass, whether you decide to make a meal out of their food offerings or not.
Cherry on Top is the wine bar that Bushwick deserves, and the petite indoor space gives way to a sizable rooftop that always seems to be buzzing. Natural wine is the focus, and snacky things like radishes with butter and anchovies and cheese are inspired by the small plates often found at Parisian wine bars. A daily happy hour features $9 glasses of wine, and events like DJ sets and movie screenings happen often.
This Williamsburg wine bar has the vibes to back up its cheeky name, where it’s definitely a party over any kind of pretension. But yes, the natural wine list is well-curated and excellent, with a bottle for every price range. The music is always good, and the tree-shaded backyard has a disco ball, for good measure.
Ariel Arce really knows wine, and she wants Champagne to be affordable and approachable for everyone. That’s the philosophy at Air’s, which Arce opened in 2017 in a lush, Art Deco-inspired space. Go for the bubbles (I discovered one of my all-time favorite bottles at Air’s), and stay for snacks like caviar service and raw bar plateaus.
While many of the best wine bars in New York right now lean French, aside from its French name, Place des Fêtes focuses on Spanish vino. Nearby Oxalis is behind the convivial bar, where the knowledgeable staff are on-hand to walk you through the interesting menu. Bites like country ham and sardine toast with smoked butter nicely accompany the wines.
Do not expect to have intimate conversations or a quiet moment at Lise & Vito — it’s a damn party, and that’s just how we like it. Don’t expect to break the bank either because the bar’s extensive bottle list is affordably priced, with many of them in the $60 to $80 range. Don’t miss the cocktail jello shots and tasty small plates like pimento cheese and pickled mussels.
The bar scene in Midtown has undoubtedly improved in the last few years, but Aldo Sohm Wine Bar opened in 2014, so it’s been a beacon of light in the neighborhood’s drinking scene for nearly a decade. The ever-changing wine list includes about 200 bottles and 40 by-the-glass selections, and there are plenty of snacks available on the all-day menu. Sit inside the cozy bar or take a seat on the bustling outdoor patio.
Vin Sur Vingt started as one lovely wine bar in the West Village and has expanded to six locations throughout the city (and one in Sag Harbor), so there’s no excuse not to pop in. Paris surely comes to mind inside the space, and a list of 250 bottles and 50 glasses are constantly changing so you can try the best wines from Bordeaux, Corsica, Languedoc and beyond. French snacks like charcuterie and tartines round out the menu.
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We’ll drink anything that The Buttery Bar owner Katie Bruce puts in front of us, making this charming Greenpoint wine bar one of our favorites in the city. She always has a new, interesting wine to try, and Bruce is also a bona fide mixologist, so her rotating cocktail list is also a must-try. Grab a drink and a snack and take a seat at the bar, or snag a spot in the cozy sidewalk cabin.
You might recognize Ten Bells because of the bar’s Manhattan location, but the Bushwick outpost is under different ownership, and we like the dark, cozy interior even better than the original. Natural wine is the focus, but the bar also serves nice cocktails and decent snacks if you’re feeling peckish. And the daily happy hour is one of the best in town, with $7 glasses and $1 oysters until 7 p.m.
If you’re interested in getting to know more Eastern European wines, Ruffian is a great place to start. While they offer bottles from all over the world, you’ll see a nice selection from some of the oldest wine making regions in the world, like Georgia and Macedonia, and more than 35 orange wines, which is exciting if you’re into the category. The mostly vegetarian (and often vegan and gluten free) menu gets creative with the wine snacks.
Le Dive is just about the closest you can feel to being in Paris while drinking wine in NYC. Pops of red adorn the tabac-inspired bar, where you can gather around a small bistro table inside or out and drink wines from around France, Spain, Italy and beyond. A few classic cocktails are also on serve, as are French snacks like beer tartare and fromage with a baguette and fresh fruit.
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