The diversity of wines available in New York City is practically unmatched in the US, so it's no surprise to find a vast array of wine bars—mainly in Manhattan or Brooklyn, and many new to the scene—in which to sample the vintages of your choice. Whether you're in the mood for a light tipple with friends, a romantic pretheater aperitif, an experience reminiscent of chef-centric bistros in Copenhagen and Paris, or one last work meeting before catching a train at Penn Station, the City has just the wine bar for you.
Aldo Sohm Wine Bar
Master sommelier Aldo Sohm (of Le Bernardin fame) opened his much-anticipated wine bar in Midtown in 2014; lovers of Burgundy, Bordeaux and Champagne have been rejoicing ever since. But Aldo Sohm Wine Bar is far from classic in its decor—instead, its contemporary aesthetic brings a fresh, downtown vibe to the outskirts of Times Square. Expect the highest standards of hospitality, and come hungry for outstanding charcuterie or excellent composed plates from chef Eric Ripert. The location is ideal for visiting after a day at the MoMA or in Central Park.
This tucked-away spot in Hell's Kitchen features plentiful outdoor space—a rarity in Manhattan. Grab a table on the patio, and let the staff guide you through the extensive wine list. Ardesia offers a fun opportunity to compare Old and New World wines, as the list highlights both with equal appreciation, and the shareable plates make it a sure bet for group hangs.
This intimate downtown gem offers a romantic setting for a date night, with menu items like the lobster mac and cheese with black truffles seemingly devised to incite sparks. But beyond the low lighting and sophisticated design by renowned restaurant architect Richard Bloch, Bahr Ché has a diverse yet easily navigable wine list that will satisfy any palate, by master sommelier Fred Dexheimer. Don't miss the happy hour deals, like complimentary appetizers on Tuesdays.
The tasting room here is a great setting for experiencing one of Brooklyn's most community-oriented alcohol producers. Sitting at a bar made from salvaged wood, you'll enjoy a flight of vintner Conor McCormack's small-batch wine made with New York State grapes. The food menu offers a variety of delectables—from small dishes, like bowls of olives for snacking, to larger items, such as Louisiana-style blackened catfish, a hearty accompaniment to your chardonnay.
Master sommelier Laura Maniec's Union Square spot is beloved for its nightly offer of half-priced Champagne after 10pm (same goes for Sunday brunch), amongst other reasons. Corkbuzz is a casual place where wine is taken seriously but not in a stuffy way. Curl up in an armchair in the salon up front to share small plates with friends, or enjoy a more formal, sit-down meal (think duck breast or rack of lamb) paired with an appropriate bottle. One of Corkbuzz's best offerings is its wide array of classes, many taught by Maniec herself, on a range of subjects that cater to all levels of wine enthusiasts. Besides the deal on bubbly, the Sunday brunch (noon to 3pm) comes with jazz accompaniment. Another location is tucked away in Chelsea Market.
This wine bar comes with a rock 'n' roll pedigree: Four Horsemen represents a collaboration between former LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy, his wife and two of their friends. Though located in Williamsburg, the clean, spare design might have you thinking you're in Copenhagen. The vibe is inviting—so inviting that it's difficult to get a table, or even a seat at the bar—and reservations are recommended. Four Horsemen serves boutique, natural wine from Europe and the US, with bistro-style food that's ideal for sharing. If you're on a budget, opt for the warm marinated olives and house-made bread with butter to stave off hunger and help you drink more wine.
The Ten Bells
Opened in 2008, the Ten Bells is one of NYC's original spots to drink natural organic wines. It's still popular today, regularly buzzing with couples on dates or groups of wine-loving friends passing around bottles. Run by a friendly staff that's passionate about wine, Ten Bells makes for an excellent stopover after a day of shopping or visiting galleries in neighboring SoHo. The food is flavorful but comes in small portions, so it's best to pop in for an aperitif or small bites rather than a full dinner.
Vintry Wine & Whiskey
Lovers of fermented grape juice can unite with those who are partial to fermented corn mash in this intimate, classy bar located in the Financial District. With an elegant, wooden decor and tables suitable for communal dining, this is a great spot to have a work meeting or simply toss back a few in the name of professional camaraderie. Opt for the kobe beef burger topped with gruyère and wild mushrooms, paired with a syrah.
After a successful year of running their prix-fixe Lower East Side restaurant, Contra, co-chefs Jeremiah Stone and Fabian von Hauske—plus wine director Jorge Riera—opened this bar next door. Featuring Old World wines made with unusual varietals, like a chelva from Spain's Sierra de Gredos region, the wine list is for those seeking the eclectic. Complementing the quaffs are sleek, modern decor and a menu of composed small dishes, many featuring seafood. The fried squid with spring onions and purple basil is a must-try.
For anyone near Penn Station with some time to spare, Wine Disciples is an appealing place to spend a few hours—a wine bar with an adjacent retail shop. Proprietor Michael Coll has created a list to please all palates, and the enoteca offers little plates of oysters and crudo, excellent cheese and charcuterie from small farms across the US, house-made pastas and wood-fired pizzas. Urban-contemporary in look, the bar makes a great spot for a business meeting, hanging out with friends or even a first date.