For city residents, accessing the best wineries often means taking a day trip to a nearby wine region. But what if you’re in the mood to sample delicious varieties without arranging a full-blown getaway? Enter the urban tasting room. These small-batch wineries, restaurants, and bars offer interesting wine flights, extensive by-the-glass menus, and knowledgeable staff to help you discover a new bottle or just enjoy a fun evening activity with friends.
75 9th Avenue & 13. E 13th St.
Master sommelier Laura Maniec brings her expert knowledge to the two Manhattan outposts of Corkbuzz. The Union Square restaurant offers a weekend wine dinner menu for $100/person, and the Chelsea Market outpost is the place to sample themed flights, including one selected by the master herself. There’s even a blind tasting challenge for those who want to put their own taste buds to the test.
213 N 8th St.
At this working winery, you can get a winery tour and tasting all just a short subway ride from home. Sample winemaker Conor McCormack’s small-batch wines, which are difficult to find elsewhere, through bottles, wines by the glass, and flights alongside a seasonal menu. The relaxed bar, decorated with reclaimed barn wood and vintage lighting, will feel welcoming to any novices who are looking to learn more about wine.
467 North Canon Drive
Offering a curated selection of organic, biodynamic, and natural wine, this stylish L.A. tasting room run by winemaker Jordane Andrieu is a great place to sample interesting bottles. In addition to a menu of French favorites like beef bourguignon and quiche lorraine, the space offers live music on Fridays, $1 oysters on Thursdays, and Saturday brunch.
447 N. Canon Drive
The Beverly Hills outpost of wine emporium Wally’s is a one-stop-shop for wine enthusiasts. There’s an impressive wine, cheese, and spirits store along with a buzzy restaurant and bar space. You can sample up to 100 wines by the glass at the retail-restaurant hybrid, which has received the elite Wine Spectator Grand Award.
53 Bluxome Street
This working winery in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood has a tasting room that’s open every afternoon and evening. While enjoying one of the flights or bites on offer, you can glimpse the wine being made in the facility next door through giant windows. The space is a nice place to grab a drink with a fellow wine lover, and if you are looking to host an event, the industrial-style venue lends itself well to big parties.
2379 Chestnut St
At this San Francisco wine bar, you can sample daily tastings of Cultivar Wine and Caspar Estate wines or make an appointment for special pairings. The boutique wines from Napa and Sonoma on offer are complemented by shareable plates made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients such as pork belly bahn mi and acorn squash. The contemporary space is great for a date, and there’s also a cozy outdoor patio with a fireplace.
2008 W Roscoe St
At this Chicago restaurant and wine bar, managing partner Jon Young curates a selection of 50 boutique wines, and 30 of them are available by the flight, glass, half glass, or carafe. The diverse flight options include a bubbly, rosé, pinot noir, and Mediterranean wine selection, and the food menu—with dishes like duck confit and fried chicken—is perfect for pairing.
2852 N Southport Ave
This cozy Chicago bar has a lot to love: Along with half-price wine flights on Wednesdays (and full-price flights any day of the week), there are tasty snacks like bacon meatballs and Nduja flatbread and an international selection of bottle and by-the-glass options. It’s a fun, casual spot to taste some vino while catching up with friends.
777 6th Street NW
This attractive bar is a must-visit for wine fans in the DC area. The owners, sommeliers Kabir Amir and Swati Bose, have built a 500-bottle list with a global bent inspired by their travels. The selection, which includes 28 flights, 40 wines by the glass, and 10 wines poured by Coravin, emphasizes varieties from lesser known vineyards and regions.
1336 9th Street NW
This DC wine bar boasts a unique refrigeration system that uses four different temperature zones to bring out the flavors of each wine. Additionally, there’s 50 wines available by the glass and flight options that are grouped according to cheeky monthly themes like “Dry January,” featuring dry bubbles, whites, pinks, and reds, or “Born in the USA,” a selection of domestic favorites.
1700 Beacon St and 525 Tremont St
Alongside its menu of tapas, Boston’s Barcelona Wine Bar offers wine flights that allow visitors to sample varietals from its expansive selection. Wine and spirits director Gretchen Thomas sources bottles from small producers across Spain and South America, several of which are not available anywhere else in the U.S. With 40 wines by the glass, the bar is sure to introduce you to a new favorite.
774 Boylston St
Next to upscale Boston restaurant L’Espalier is a more relaxed bar where wine rules the menu. Beverage director Lauren Daddona dips into her cellar of more than 10,000 bottles to create exciting flights each season. The tastings, along with the by-the-glass offerings and daily carafe specials, pair nicely with the bar’s menu of cheese flights or its dessert tasting for two.
Photo by Emily Sotomayor/Boston Magazine
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