375 Broome St (between Mott St & Mulberry St)
New York, NY 10013
Specialty: If you feel the need to break away from breakfast at home, then look no further than Oro Bakery and Bar. Their breakfast items are delicious, with fresh pastries baked daily. Serious Eats even claims that Oro Bakery makes “the most attractive madeleine” in NYC, with quite the taste to match. Stop by in the afternoon to watch the transformation from bakery to bar.
Good: Great date spot. It’s even a good date spot during the day if your sweetheart has a sweet tooth!
Bad: The pop music that plays doesn’t match the typical wine bar atmosphere, but that’s not a problem if you love your ‘Top 40’ hits. Oro is also not ideal for a group looking to go to a bar together.
21 Bedford St (between Downing St & Houston St)
New York, NY 10014
Specialty: You had a great breakfast from Oro, but now it’s lunch time and your stomach is just begging for something wholesome. Enter Ino (Italian suffix meaning “small”), a very small place in the West Village that is as much a café as it is a wine bar. While its panini are delectable, people really come for its truffled egg toast. In fact, their truffled egg toast is on Serious Eats’ list of “22 Sandwiches That Will Change Your Life.”
Good: Italian-style establishment, including wine list and the menu. You will come back for the food, especially the truffled egg toast.
Bad: Extremely small, to the point where you’re almost eating on top of the other guests. This leads to long wait times at night. Ino only serves Italian wines, but if you go to sample the Italian atmosphere, you shouldn’t consider this a negative.
422 Hudson St (between Morton St & Leroy St)
New York, NY 10014
Specialty: You finally got off of work and you’re starving. You’re stressed and you just want to unwind - where’s the best place to relax? With its calm atmosphere, Lelabar will undoubtedly be your destination. If you stop by on Wednesday, you will be even more pleased – you can buy oysters for only $1 each plate on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Beware though: this deal is so popular that Lelabar often sells out, so make sure you go early. Don’t think that this is the only thing that makes Lelabar stand out though: guided wine tastings are available twice a month for $60. Lelabar is also fully prepared for large groups and parties. In fact, you can even project images onto their walls or bring your own music!
Good: $1 oysters on Wednesdays and Saturdays never fail to bring in customers. Relaxed atmosphere provides the perfect safe haven from work drama. Bar is low lit and has a really romantic feel as well. Sommelier is also very knowledgeable and helpful.
Bad: While the wine list is extensive, most of the options are only by the bottle or the half bottle. No inexpensive wines, with $10 being the cheapest wine. The service also slows down significantly when it gets crowded.
42 Rivington St
New York, NY 10079
Specialty: You’ve decided that going out with friends is your best bet for the night. You don’t want to “go out drinking,” you just want to relax with your friends and have a good time. Obviously the wine bar can’t be some cramped hole in the wall – it has to be somewhere with enough room for you and your friends to relax and enjoy yourselves. How about a wine bar with couches? Jadis is one of those few wine bars, and its relaxed atmosphere will be just the thing you need to make the night perfect. It also offers private parties for up to fifty guests. Want to make the check perfect along with the night? Head over on Mondays to drink bottles of wine over $40 for half price.
Good: The atmosphere is perfect for a relaxing evening, and the couches will keep you there into the wee hours of the evening. Many affordable wines are available by the glass, and half off during Happy Hour (5-7pm, Tuesday – Saturday) makes them even more affordable.
Bad: Jadis can get noisy after 9pm or so, so keep that in mind if you’re going there on a date.
413 E 12th St (between 1st Ave & Avenue A)
New York, NY 10009
Specialty: With their Summer of Riesling events going on, the list of Rieslings offered is extensive, and there are even tasting events offered for a limited time. The atmosphere and attitude of the menus alone will make you feel like you have landed directly in the lap of true citizens of NYC. If you love Rieslings, or just want to be entertained by the atmosphere, Terroir is definitely the place to go.
Good: The best selection of Rieslings around. Great atmosphere, including some nice touches to the menu itself. Friendly and knowledgeable servers.
Bad: With a focus on terroir, or “land,” there are not many varietals available by the glass. However, this just means that the wine list is more specialized.