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The 8 Best New York City Wine Bars to Savor Your Favorite Vino

Category General

|by Mark Robinson |


In honor of National Wine and Cheese Day on July 25th

For those who enjoy a glass of wine as part of winding down after a long or trying day, there are plenty of wonderful wine bars for relaxing in the Big Apple. With National Wine and Cheese Day coming up on July 25, we thought it would be fun and timely to share some of the great wine bars of Manhattan. Here are eight establishments where the libations and atmosphere come together for your drinking, dining and relaxing pleasure.

Sip your favorite wine at these elegant New York city bars (Photo: iStock)

Sip your favorite wine at these elegant New York city bars (Photo: iStock)

City Winery
For wine that is “regionally influenced and locally sourced,” check out City Winery at 155 Varick Street. According to their website, “The core target audience of City Winery are urban wine enthusiasts who desire the experience of making their own wine, but who are not going to leave their comfortable Manhattan lifestyle to decamp to a vineyard.” With City Winery, there is no need to wander, as there are wines sourced from a wide variety of locations, including California, Oregon, Washington, Argentina and Chili. City Winery also believes that wine is meant to be consumed with food, and offers a Mediterranean-inspired menu. 

Lois
One of Alphabet City’s more unique wine bars is Lois, which can be found at 98 Avenue C. The establishment prides itself for serving wine on tap in an effort to keep prices low, reduce waste, and to “make sure the wines in your glass are as fresh as the day they were kegged.” Among the wines on tap are Annabella Cabernet Sauvignon, Hahn Family Wines Pinot Noir, Domaine le Garrigon Cotes du Rhone, Milbrant Vineyards Riesling and Montelvini Venegazzu Pinot Grigio. Their food menu promises rotating seasonal small plates that can include olives, breads, sausage rolls and red wine chocolate cake.

Ruffian
A cozy retreat in New York City’s East Village, Ruffian is both a wine bar and restaurant where your food is prepared right in front of you at the bar. With over 250 wine selections in-house, patrons will have no trouble finding a libation that will suit their palate. Of particular interest are their specialty orange wines, with over 30 variations on the menu. Ruffian, which is housed in a historic building dating back to 1861 that was once owned by William B. Astor, is awaiting your patronage at 125 East 7th Street.

Terroir Tribeca
Terroir Tribeca at 24 Harrison Street offers wine tasting experiences that can accommodate up to 14 guests. Tastings take patrons on a journey through a customized experience of wines paired with foods that can include a variety of cheeses, charcuterie, oysters and desserts, as well as a 4-course wine pairing dinner that is available upon request. It simply depends on what you are willing to pay. The bar at Terroir is also a fully stocked one, so beer and spirits are also within reach.

The Immigrant
For the atmospheric ambiance of a wine bar tucked inside an old tenement building, The Immigrant at 341 East 9th St. is an intimate venue to enjoy a wide variety of wines. Yesteryear charm (there is an old-time cash register at the bar) meets a sleek, contemporary design where wine, cocktails and upscale bites are served. The Immigrant is self-described as cozy, and they aren’t kidding. It would be smart to book larger groups and parties ahead of time, as the maximum occupancy cannot exceed 30. It is worth it, though, as The Immigrant is more than just a bar – it’s an experience. 

Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar
At 11 West 31st Street, you will find a pairing of two favorites. The Ayza Wine and Chocolate Bar is “committed to providing an impeccable first-class dining experience through their unique menu, coupled with a selection of over 90 fine wines and champagnes from all over the world.” Their dessert menu incorporates chocolate in so many sumptuous ways, including dark chocolate fondue, warm chocolate molten cake and chocolate pizza, not to mention the signature Chocolate by Cioccolada, Chocolate by Jacques Torres and Chocolate by Michel Cluizel. Chocolate martinis are also on offer here. The establishment features an atmospheric setting by celebrated architect Richard Bloch. Ayza Wine and Chocolate Bar is a dream for those who like to indulge in rich flavors.

Kaia Wine Bar
For something a bit more outside the box of your traditional wine bar, there is a South African Wine Bar and Restaurant known as Kaia Wine Bar. Offering a menu of some of the city’s tastiest food (South African-inspired or otherwise), choose from delectable snacks and sliders that include wildervank (wild boar with cherry compote), dukkah hoender (spiced chicken with onion marmalade) and viskoekie (crusted fish cake with curried aioli). However, it is the host of South African wines on their menu that is the real draw. Among them are the Brut Rose, Sparkling Streen, the Petit Chenin Blanc, and options from Suz’s Private Collection. Kaia Wine Bar lives at 1614 3rd Avenue. 

Lea Wine Bar
Designed elegantly in red and black, Lea Wine Bar at 230 Park Avenue combines all the joys of a wine bar with the mouthwatering pleasures to be had at a sushi and tapas bar. Featuring a full menu of wines, whether you are a Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot or Riesling person, you will find plenty to whet your palate at Lea Wine Bar. If you like to nibble on something while you sip your wine, not to worry – Lea Wine Bar offers bruschetta, prosciutto and brie and grilled veggies, as well as a long list of tapas options. The sushi bar is also loaded with sashimi, sushi, California rolls and plenty of other succulent choices.

Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.

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