The best New York wine bars

New York City is one of the best places in the world to drink wine.

There are retail outlets of unparalleled variety and an ever-growing selection of nationally recognized wine bars that blur the lines between wine bar and destination restaurant: Four Horsemen, Claud, Wildair, Place des Fêtes, Vinatería, Clay, Pinch Chinese, June, Chambers and Contento, among many others. Pioneering establishments like Terroir and Ten Bells continue to thrive, with new establishments opening seemingly every month.

At the same time, the wine bar-as-restaurant trend means it’s not easy to find a spot in the neighborhood where you can drop by without a reservation and share an eye-opening glass with a friend.

As Grant Reynolds, co-owner of Parcelle Wine Bar in New York says: “I dream of sitting at a corner stand in Balthazar, casually sipping a glass of wine and people-watching before going to dinner elsewhere, but you do it just don’t do that.”

In these ten places, however, you can– and while they offer food, the focus is always on the wine.

The 10 Best Wine Bars in New York City

Named after the wine director of the neighboring restaurant Le Bernardin (and author of just cry) Aldo Sohm Wine Bar is a collaboration between Sohm and Executive Chef Eric Ripert. The location offers all the elegance and authority of Le Bernardin without the formality and price tag. The glass menu shows around 40 wines that encourage experimentation. There’s also an unpretentious menu of snacks and common dishes, such as red peppers stuffed with Angus beef or “The Tower,” which includes ten different charcuterie items.

“It’s what I imagine a real wine bar to be – comfortable, sophisticated and challenging at the same time,” said Jeremy Noye, President and CEO of Morrell & Company, a wine merchant and auction house. “There’s an ever-changing selection per glass and bottle that’s focused and exciting across regions, styles and price points.”

A large couch with cushions and individual tables with round ottomans in front of the full bar at Aldo Sohm Wine Bar, NYC
Inside Bar Jamón / Image courtesy of Francesco Tonelli

Bar Jamón is a convivial tapas bar — the menu is scrawled on a chalkboard — that happens to have a 600-bottle Spanish wine list (courtesy of its sister restaurant, Casa Mono, in New York). Look for dishes like bacalao croquetas made with salted cod or grilled sardines.

“As much as I love new places that are springing up like Sauced, my favorite NYC wine bar remains Bar Jamón,” says Talitha Whidbee, owner of Vine Wine in Williamsburg, New York. “There’s something magical about the space that makes you feel like you’re both in the middle of the city and hidden away. It is a pleasure to drink wines from Spain that are both familiar and new to me. Your list of reserve wines by the glass is unparalleled and don’t get me started on the sherry situation.”

Be sure to ask about Coravin Pours, available in half or full glasses.

Despite how quickly the wine scene changes and how many newcomers emerge each year, Corkbuzz, which opened in 2011, is still one of the best in town. Owner Laura Maniec has long been an advocate of drinking champagne (and other sparklers) with every meal. She offers every champagne at the retail price. There are around 50 glass casts, multiple flight options, and Maniec’s focus on education means a very knowledgeable staff.

“I’ve been addicted to Corkbuzz since day one, as a guest, champagne vendor and champagne party planner,” says Rita Jammet, author and chief bubble officer at La Caravelle Wines. “Talent and charismatic sommelier, child prodigy [and] Entrepreneur Laura [Maniec] has created one of New York’s most vibrant, elegant and enjoyable wine bars, and ui, that includes delicious and perfectly wine-friendly food.”

Image courtesy of Della’s

Liz Nicholson, owner of Frankly Wines wine shop (and formerly NYC restaurants Maialino and Marea), says she modeled this Tribeca spot after her grandmother’s house, and while it doesn’t look like an Italian nonna’s living room, it did surely all the charm and love.

All wines (with the exception of some sparkling wines) are available both by the glass and by the bottle.

“The list at Della’s is small but super fun and offers a lot of excitement,” says James O’Brien, co-owner of Gus’s Chop House in Brooklyn. “Sometimes it’s hard for me to look outside my usual wine selections like Champagne, Burgundy and Piedmont, but Liz’s enthusiasm for regions like South Africa and lesser-known parts of Italy is always an educational and insightful experience.”

jewel wine
Image courtesy of Aaron Bengochea

Don’t worry if you can’t get a table for Gem Restaurant’s 10-course tasting menu. Instead, head to Gem Wine’s walk-through location next door and order some serious small dishes like raw scallops with turmeric, sour apples, and endive.

“Unreserved seating is becoming increasingly rare in today’s dining culture,” says Julia Schwartz, sommelier at Restaurant Claud in the East Village. “Wine selection is equally straightforward at Gem’s wine bar as all you have to do is walk up to the shelves and browse for yourself.”

The wines on offer change often and are refreshingly different from the producers who seem to be on every natural wine list in town.

LCVS has one of the most impressive wine lists of any restaurant in the country. It also offers tantalizing dishes like pasta alla vodka with spicy ‘Nduja (spreadable pork sausage) and stracciatella (a soft cheese), and the locally renowned French onion grilled cheese rivals the best. But LCVS has a cozy, buddy-like vibe that screams “wine bar” rather than fine dining.

“Compagnie has long been a soft spot [and] a place where I took many friends and met countless strangers who became friends in this dark but warm bar,” says Miguel de Leon, writer and sommelier. “The wine excels in both sleeper hits and vintage spreads, particularly in champagne and exciting natural bottles. One day you’re drinking Cru Burgundy and the next you’re drinking co-ferment from Japan. Aside from zaltos and marble tables, it’s a simple place to settle down, but it’s chic from top to bottom.”

Be sure to check out LCVS’ monthly wine boot camp classes.

moonflower bar
Inside Moonflower / Image courtesy of Erik Bernstein

“Drink Wine and Be Kind” is the motto of this cozy West Village retreat, whose maximalist decor conveys the same sense of fun and experimentation as the wine list. Here, small producers from Canada to Slovakia join in with tasty variants such as the Swedish apple and pear cider Pétillant naturel.

“Having traveled all over this area for a decade, I know from experience – as beverage program manager at Anfora – how difficult it can be to nurture consumers and carefully guide them through an innovative wine program,” says Tara Hammond of importer Black Lamb Wine. “The food they produce is outstanding and all in a compact Village space. It’s one of the most exciting things that can happen in this area in a minute.”

Image courtesy of Collin Hughes

The Parcelle sits somewhere between a neighborhood wine destination, a bottle shop, a respectable restaurant, and a dreamy hotel lobby bar.

There are around 500 labels on the list, with almost every wine available at retail if you want to stop by and pick one up the next day. Don’t worry if you can’t remember specific bottles. Parcelle staff can review your reservation and see what you have ordered.

“There are many things that Parcelle Wine Bar does right, [like] Food [and] Drink. But I think the interior design knocked her out of the park,” says André Hueston Mack, sommelier and entrepreneur. “It feels very Parisian to me with its fairytale leather sofas and velvet armchairs combined with perfect lighting. It’s very reminiscent of the restaurants I frequent in the 11th arrondissement of Paris.”

“Georgian wine has reached a turning point in the last year,” says Patrick Cournot, owner of Ruffian. “Most customers are already familiar with the Georgian orange [wines]a wider range of styles and regions are being imported and I expect this trend to continue for years to come.”

Cournot’s commitment to wines from Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, without ignoring other classic and emerging regions, has garnered Ruffian a loyal following since it opened in 2016.

“Patrick and his team made Ruffian feel very personal from day one,” said Juliette Pope, portfolio manager at Bowler Wine Imports and Distribution. “The wine program is one of the most dynamic in the city, with its frequent changes, rare focus on ‘The East’ and colorful and – even more unusually helpful – wine descriptions and categories.”

Image courtesy of LIZ CLAYMAN

There’s a lot to like about Temperance, and by a lot we mean the open wine list with over 100 choices at any time. All of them can be integrated into a set of half glasses; You can let your server choose a flight for you based on your interests. From Tuesday to Thursday everything is half price during curfew – if you let the waiter decide for you.

“Once you enter Temperance, it feels more like a playground than a wine bar,” says Erin Ortiz, account manager at distributor Wine 4 The World. “The staff is always ready to greet you with a warm, authentic conversation and experience with a cool new wine at any price. It’s a refreshing departure from the tired, stuffy old pre-Covid wine bars, and Temperance sets the trend.”