Hi! I had previously stated a few entries ago that I plan to talk about different neighborhoods in NYC and showcase things to do there, as well as historical and up-to-the-moment facts about the local population and buildings. Well, it’s been actually a little chilly as of late, and as I am not a strong-willed soul when it comes to venturing and exploring in the cold (call it a weakness) I have put off my explorations for another few days. Instead, I would love to share with you tips about some fantastic wine bars, so that no matter where your NYC apartment is located, you will have a lovely new spot to check out some serious grape juice.
One of my favorite haunts in the Union Square area is a place called Corkbuzz. Its famous owner/master sommelier Laura Maniec has put on not only a stellar wine bar of quality in both wine and cuisine, but she also has designed the space as an oenophile learning center. There are classrooms in the rear of the restaurant where workshops are held, and enrollment is open to enthusiasts and professionals alike. Either come to enjoy the “buzzing” bar scene, or get more serious with a class about any wine category from sparklers to big Italian reds. Another plus: I’ve found that all of the staff is not only very knowledgeable, but extremely friendly and helpful.
Not far from Corkbuzz is an understated nook called Tarallucci e Vino on 18th street. This small Italian chain (with other locations on the Upper West Side and in the East Village) has a well-selected offering of wines by the glass on tap for laissez faire, cafe-style drinking. In summertime, grab a table on the sidewalk and sip the afternoon away with friends. Their coffee is also stellar.
One more of my favorite wine spots in this area is Gramercy Tavern. I once sat at the bar on a Sunday afternoon for one glass of wine with a friend, and we enjoyed the scene, the wine, and the company so much that we didn’t emerge onto the street again to return home until a full 8 hours later! The allure of Gramercy Tavern is that their glass wines are available by the half-glass, so you may easily sample several. Their locavore-centered cuisine is top-notch. The decor here is also classy yet inviting. If you desire to switch to a cocktail in between glasses, you will not be disappointed with the skill of the bartenders. I highly recommend this spot!
If your New York rental sits on or near the Upper West Side, I would urge you to check out Bin 71 for some wine and charcuterie. It’s a tiny shop front with an intimate horse-shoe bar that quickly fills up at night, so it’s best to get there early. Bin 71 has a great cheese and charcuterie selection, in addition to a wide array of carefully curated wines by the glass to choose from. This is definitely a great date spot, where if you don’t end up enjoying the company, you will at least like your food and drink.
If you find yourself on the other side of Central Park, Uva is a fun wine bar to go with your friends. Catering toward beginners in the wine world, there are helpful descriptions of each entry for those with minimal wine knowledge. A fun selection of wine flights are available before 7pm, and the food menu (I hear) is perfect for a night out with friends.
If you live in Sunnyside, Queens, a cute wine bar called Claret will satisfy your Bacchian desires. Located on Skillman Avenue and 46th Street off of the 7 train, it’s a sophisticated but accessible meeting place for the neighborhood, and you will no doubt strike up interesting conversations with the locals. Their wine selection changes frequently (it’s not listed online) but rest assured you will find something you will like. The food menu is really more of a snack list, but the little plates are a nice precursor to a dinner elsewhere. A fun feature is that art from local artists hangs on the walls, sometimes available for purchase.
I would like to make some recommendations for great wine bars in Brooklyn, but I have not explored that aspect of the borough. Terroir is excellent, with half-glass options and a very user-friendly wine list, but I don’t know of other spots. If you have recommendations, please tell me what they are! I would love to check them out. My goal is to offer great options as close to your NYC apartment as possible.
photo courtesy of: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/nyc-wine-glass-judee-stalmack.html