When it comes to wine bars, NYC isn't short on choice, so what separates the best wine bars in NYC from the rest? A comprehensive wine list or a carefully curated selection of wines on tap are musts. Ambiance is key, and great food is a plus—especially if the bar is connected to a Michelin-starred restaurant.
Ready to tour the best wine bars in New York City? From casual East Village establishments to Cobble Hill gems, these are hands-down the best spots to grab a glass.
Lois, Alphabet City
Lois could easily deter a few visitors. For one, it's located on Avenue C (also called Loisaida Avenue)—which only a couple of decades ago was considered a no-fly zone. Secondly, they serve wine on tap—and in stemless glasses (shock, horror)! But mark our words, Lois is actually one of the quaintest and most pleasant wine bars to sit at in all of New York City. The bar was started on the premise that when it comes to wine and food, accessibility and quality are not mutually exclusive. Lois serves great wines and delicious food in a fun and casual atmosphere.
June, Cobble Hill
If you're going to make the trek to Brooklyn for wine, there's one obvious destination: Cobble Hill's June natural wine bar and restaurant. Boasting a dramatic vaulted ceiling, a long marble bar, and art deco charm, June serves the best natural wines in a convivial and lively atmosphere. Unpretentious and never too busy, this wine bar is the perfect place to retreat to when you'd rather avoid the Manhattan crowds or when you've spent the day walking around the charming brownstone-lined streets of Cobble Hill.
Blue Ribbon Downing Street Bar, West Village
Blink twice and you might miss Blue Ribbon Downing Street Bar. Tucked away on an unassuming West Village street, this tiny Zagat-rated 15-seat establishment is cozy and intimate. Inside, the wood-paneled walls and dimmed lighting will set the stage for a memorable evening filled with laughter. While it isn't a wine bar specifically, it does have an impressive list with wines by the bottles from Piemonte, Burgundy, Madeira, and more. In case you were wondering, it's a great date spot!
Bar Jamon, Union Square
Nestled behind Michelin-starred Casa Mono on the corner of Irving Place and 17th street is Bar Jamon, the restaurant's sister establishment and wine bar. With a focus on Spanish wines and tapas, this quaint bar will transport you to Rioja, Catalunya, and serve your wine with delicious sides like pork croquetas, house-made merguez, and confit goat.
Bar Jamon is often buzzy with happy hour crowds, so a short wait is expected.
La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels, Nolita
On a quiet Nolita street, La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels (or Supernatural Wine Company—if translated from French), focuses on a French-heavy wine list and small plates. A Paris outpost from Experimental hospitality group, this wine bar serves a head-spinning list of around 600 bottles in a dimly lit and plush atmosphere. In fact, it's possibly the closest you'll come to an authentic French wine bar in New York City—unpretentious, knowledgeable, and convivial.
Wildair, Lower East Side
Is it a wine bar? Is it a restaurant? Few people concur on the official title of Wildair, a small casual eatery on the Lower East Side. One thing that everyone does agree on is that Wildair is the perfect spot to grab a glass of wine or a bite to eat in the area. Attached to the acclaimed tasting-menu restaurant Contra, Wildair focuses instead on seasonally produced small plates and natural wines. This tiny, buzzy establishment is in high demand though, so booking ahead is highly recommended.
Ruffian, East Village
If you can handle the sensory overload that comes from fried bacon, curried carrots, and seared octopus right behind the narrow 19-seat counter, you'll love Ruffian. The tiny East Village bar serves up over 250 funky wines and ambitious dishes paired with loud hip-hop. It's an unpretentious spot where local chefs, hospitality professionals, and residents all gather for a seriously great glass of wine. The wine list cleverly divides rosés as "Beach Sipping" or "Stoop Sipping," the champagne as "Central Park" or "Tompkins Park," and the reds as "Rootsy" or "Kool-Aid." If you're up for an adventure, this is your place.