The air is getting chilly and it’s time to start spending time indoors. I’ve started to put down my cold wheat beers in exchange for robust glasses of red. New York City is teeming with wine bars–usually darkly lit tight spaces with a longer wine list than a food menu. There’s my old favorite Bar Jamon and the downstairs Peasant, but I wanted to focus on the wine bars where food is not usually part of the focus. I get in a bad mood when I’m over-charged for a slice of cheese that I can buy from Di Palo’s for less, but I’m willing to be a good sport and pay a premium for a delicious glass or bottle of wine with good company.
From this page, I’ll be writing about wine bars I’ve recently checked out with quick highlights. If I like a wine I’ve tried, I’ll share the buying information so readers who don’t live in New York City can order them online and try for themselves at home.
The Ten Bells
247 Broome Street off Orchard Street
Highlights: the nicest guys from Le Pere Pinard who run the show, Maine and Long Island oysters for $2 apiece (less from 5pm to 7pm on weeknights), ambiance (beautiful lighting and tolerable noise and background music), wines from small producers
Good appetizers: monkfish chermoula, duck and steak tartare, fresh oysters
Domaine Rimbert Saint-Chinian Carignan-Grenache-Syrah blend, Languedoc, France
Kingston Family Vineyards Tobiano Syrah, Casablanca Valley, Chile
422 Hudson Street between Leroy and Morton Streets
Highlights: Oysters Wednesdays, quiet and adult space especially on weeknights (read: almost no frat boys around), happy hour prices, a lot of surprisingly good wines
Good appetizers: Hungarian sausages, Oregon cheese
413 East 12th Street between First and Second
Highlights: expensive and some rare wines, rock and roll and punk vibe without the attitude
Good appetizers: Lamb sausage and sage, wild boar, pork terrine