In Food + Drink

Eight Unmissable Wine Bars for Sipping And Snacking In Manhattan

New York City is one of the top destinations for wine-loving travellers to visit.

The city is known for its unstoppable scene of dynamic and versatile wine bars loaded with global selections for every price point and palate preference out there. Though with such a high density of places to drink well, knowing where to find the best of the best is key.

For those looking to drink from New York’s best-curated lists in some of the city’s sultriest atmospheres, look no further than these eight epic wine bars in Manhattan.

Corkbuzz

Image: Corkbuzz / supplied

With two locations across NYC, Corkbuzz is one of the best places to sip, snack, and learn about wine.

Founded in 2011 by Master Sommelier Laura Maniec, Corkbuzz provides the ideal ambiance for those looking to catch up with friends, study for an upcoming wine exam, or simply indulge in a delicious bite (the homemade ricotta is unmissable).

Blind tasting flights are available all day every day, which includes three pours of wine and an official Court of Master Sommeliers grid for deciphering purposes. The friendly and well-versed staff members are eager to help make recommendations from the extensive by-the-glass offerings, and be sure not to miss 50 per cent all bottles of Champagne on Sunday nights.

75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011 & 13 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003 

Somm Time

Image: Somm Time / Facebook

The hidden wine bar gem that is Somm Time is hands-down one of the best places to sip in the city, especially for a neighbourhood not reputed for its vibrant wine bar scene. Opened just a few years back, Somm Time provides the perfect refuge for those looking to escape the dive bar madness of Midtown East.

The bar’s daily happy hour from 4 to 7pm features various pours of red, white, and rosé, with rotating snack options available. Off-the-beaten-path gems from Hungary, Czech Republic, and Georgia regularly creep their way onto the ever-changing wine list.

And don’t miss the Somm Frites, which come completely slathered in parmesan and fresh chives. Best of all, the bar stays open until 2am Tuesdays to Saturdays, which is a rather rare feat for weeknights at wine bars.

959 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10022

La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels 

Image: La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels / supplied

There are numerous reasons why La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels has unofficially become New York’s food & beverage industry favourite hangout spot.

In addition to the cosy and dimly lit ambiance, the bar’s reasonably-priced happy hour, Bible-sized wine list, and educated yet approachable staff make hitting La Compagnie a total-package experience.

Confident drinkers can take their shot at the daily ‘Mystery Pour,’ and if guessed correctly, will win the entire bottle to take home or drink on-site. Be sure to check the wine bar’s website for news on upcoming tastings, education classes, and special wine-focused events.

249 Centre St, New York, NY 10013

Terroir

Image: Terroir / supplied

Terroir is a New York wine bar institution and its quirky, one-of-a-kind founder is just one of the many reasons why. Paul Grieco is nothing short of a legend in NYC’s wine industry. After working numerous stints across some of the city’s biggest restaurants, Grieco went on to open Terroir, which boasts one of the largest by-the-glass programs in the city.

Known for their extensive wine flight options, fun bar snacks, regularly rotating movies (projected on the back wall), and unforgettable Riesling program, Terroir is an absolute must for wine lovers visiting New York for the first time. Ask for Paul, sip some Riesling, and get ready for an indelible night in TriBeCa.

24 Harrison St, New York, NY 10013

The Ten Bells 

Image: The Ten Bells / Facebook

Love natural wine, oysters, and a well-priced happy hour? Then The Ten Bells is just the place for you. Located in New York’s bustling Lower East Side neighbourhood, The Ten Bells is regarded worldwide as an institution within the natural wine community.

Opened in 2008, the bar is best known for its extensive selection of organic wines, oysters, and tapas-style snacks, all served up in a dark den-like ambiance. Happy hour of $1 oysters and $18 carafes of wine are available daily from 5 to 7pm.

For an unusual wine list chock-full of small producers, lesser-known regions, and minimal intervention winemaking, look no further than this rustic spot.

247 Broome St, New York, NY 10002

AOC East

Image: AOC East / Facebook

Looking to reminisce over your last trip to the City of Lights?

AOC East is just the spot to do so. Tucked away on New York’s Upper East Side, the utterly romantic ambiance of this French-inspired wine bar comes complete with classic comfort food, brick-lined walls, and even live music.

AOC East is also home to one of the Upper East Side’s best brunches, featuring French toast, Moroccan eggs, and a variety of hand-curated cheese boards – be sure to save room for the tarte tatin or mousse au chocolat. For a romantic French getaway close to home, check out this snug and sophisticated watering hole.

1590 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10028

Racines

Although more restaurant than wine bar, Racines is a definite hit for serious wine drinkers headed to New York. The restaurant’s impeccable 70+ page wine list is curated by Master Sommelier Pascaline Lepeltier, formerly of Rouge Tomate and recent Meilleure Ouvrière de France.

Lepeltier’s impeccable offerings feature an array of organic and biodynamic selections from around the world, marked with a French-heavy focus and a serious emphasis on her favorite signature grape variety, #CheninCheninChenin. Grab some bar snacks including spiced nuts and country terrine, snag a wine recommendation, and get to sipping French style.

94 Chambers St, New York, NY 10007

Aldo Sohm Wine Bar

wine bars in Manhattan

Image: Francesco Tonelli / Aldo Sohm Wine Bar

Headed by Le Bernardin’s Master Sommelier (and namesake) Aldo Sohm, this ‘casually chic’ wine bar is the perfect refuge from the hustle and bustle of Midtown West.

With over 40 by-the-glass pours and 200 bottles to choose from, Aldo and his team are passionate about providing focused, dynamic, and welcoming service to each person that walks in the door. Stop by for a mid-afternoon lunch, grab a pre-theatre dinner, or simply pop in post-show for a flight of something delicious.

As the bar says, ‘Made for sharing and pairing – each dish has been created in tandem with Aldo’s philosophy on the relationship between food and wine: one should enhance the other and both should be equally, and simply, enjoyed.

151 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019

Ruffian

Forget the neighbourhood’s signature dive bars – Ruffian is the East Village’s answer to chic yet unpretentious imbibing. Opened in 2016, Ruffian focuses on small-production wines crafted at the hands of thoughtful winemakers from the south of France, Eastern Europe, and various other Old World favourites.

Known for their extensive skin-contact wine selection (over 35 bottles) Ruffian is ideal for lovers of orange wine looking to shake things up. Their 30 by-the-glass offerings rotate regularly, and their dinner menu changes daily based on what’s fresh and in-season. Stay tuned for Ruffian’s new series of wine classes, coming March 2020.

125 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

(Lead image: La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels / supplied) 

Published 12 March, 2020