The perfect wine bar is more than just about having an extensive list of fine vintages. Like wine itself, it represents a confluence of notes and flavors working in balance to achieve the end result, from glassware and service to atmosphere and delicious food pairings. And yeah, the wine better be on point too.
Now when it comes to Los Angeles you might say the wine bar scene is a bit underrated (unless you’re an aficionado who is already privy to the many gems this city has to offer).
One thing about the following list is that each wine bar has its own unique charm and style, meaning just because they all serve wine and charcuterie doesn’t mean each one is just more of the same. We highly recommend that, like a flight of varied wines, you give each one a taste to figure out what works best for your palate.
(List numbered for reference, presented in no particular order)
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1. Wally’s Beverly Hills
Wally’s BH boasts an inventory of the largest collection of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Italian, California and Spanish wines in the United States. They offer 100 wines by the glass and stock 2,500 wines by the bottle. Chef David Féau provides an upscale and wine-friendly menu that includes white and black truffle options, caviar and a wide selection of charcuterie (they stock 200 cheeses and meats!). You can purchase wine’s by the bottle that are not on the menu and they’re open till 2:00am with a late night menu for after-hours shenanigans.
This upscale eatery by chef Suzanne Goin features wine by the glass and a delectable menu highlighted by small plates, highlights include the Spanish fried chicken with chili-cumin butter and bacon-wrapped dates. The wine list includes an impressive number of California selections as well as sustainable, biodynamic and organic wines.
3. Silverlake Wine
This wine shop provides a wine bar experience on certain days with theme tastings. Thursday Night Flights includes three reds and three whites served with bread and butter. Blue Monday introduces guests to brand new wines served with cheese, olives, and bread. Sundays at Three happens once a month and features a four course meal expertly paired with four wines so you can learn a little bit about pairings while enjoying a delicious and affordable experience.
Wine Tasting ! It's #BlueMonday ! That means 3 wines, cheese, charcuterie and bread from sweet places – @heirloomla parked outside for dinner and a chill, relaxed atmosphere to propel you gently into the week inside. Tonight from 5-9p ~ $15 per person per flight | Come as you are whenever you want !
4. Pour Haus
This hole in the wall located in DTLA’s Arts District is a local favorite not only for their happy hour (order the oxtail taco, it’s delicious) but for their wide array of wine options including more than 100 bottles. Wine flights are reasonably priced here so you try multiple wines without braking the bank. Guest also get complementary popcorn when they’re seated and tons of board games are up for grabs.
5. Bar Covell
Come for the selection of wines (150 to be exact) and stay for the laid-back vibes and knowledgeable service. Owners Dustin Lancaster and Matthew Kaner know what they’re doing, Covell repped L.A. on Wine Enthusiast’s list of the top 20 wine bars in America earlier this year and co-owner Matthew Kaner was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s Sommeliers of the Year in 2013. They don’t offer a wine list, instead staffers provide recommendations according to your personal tastes. They’ve also got eight rotating beers on tap and a selection of complementary dishes including a variety of charcuterie options.
If this place feels homey it’s because it’s literally built within a 1,900-square-foot house from the 1940s. Owner Claudio Blotta, who hails from Argentina, lives by the mantra that “food should be fun” and you can see that reflected in his wine and food selections. The wine menu includes over 50 options from Spain to Austria to Argentina and the U.S. Their seasonal sangria is alway great, while menu items like the burrata, polenta croquettes, and pork and ricotta meatballs make great wine accompaniments. The menu changes daily so check in on their website or Instagram.
7. Venice Beach Wines
This cozy spot is big in flavor, take their Lambwich for example, made with manchego and tomato-onion jam it’s an experience, especially paired with a nice glass of red. Other tasty treats include the fromage a trois with fontina, gouda, parmigiano reggiano and white truffle oil and the brie & truffle oil pizza. Everything is made in-house with the addition of farm-to-table cheeses.The wine bar boast an extensive collection of wines which cover the walls of this 35-seat bar. You’ll likely rub elbows with an eclectic crowd of beach goers, actors, and winos so drink up and people watch.
We’ll always have Paris… in DTLA thanks to this hole-in-the-wall that somehow manages to feel intimate and low-key. They offer a prix-fixe menu of comfort food items like the ham and brie sandwich and the baked egg (Ouefs en Cocette) a simplistic dish that yields an astonishing amount of deliciousness. Their wine and beer selection is mostly European yet affordable just don’t plan a large party as this place has only 18 seats.
9. D’Vine Wine Cellar
Located underneath the O Hotel in the heart of DTLA D’Vine is a boon for wine aficionados looking for a chill spot that includes a wine list of more than 50 varietals from all over the globe. In addition to the red, white, and sparkling options they serve four lables on tap as well as vintage whiskey. They don’t offer much in the way of food but the charcuterie and tartines are perfect accompaniments and don’t dismiss their rotating desserts (panna cotta, dark chocolate hazelnut truffles).
10. V Wine Room
The wine list is extensive at this West Hollywood spot. Considered an oasis for winos, it’s all about the grapes here, so food is limited to a small tasting menu of fresh fruit, olives, bread and oils, cured meats and cheeses. The staff is knowledgeable- which is especially helpful for those who are not wine connoisseurs, the staff will happily guide guests through various wines and what makes the best pairings for their experience.
11. Rustic Canyon
Not all wine bars can say their food is as acclaimed as their wine selection but Rustic Canyon isn’t just any wine bar. Chef Jeremy Fox’s farm-to-table approach means you won’t be eating the expected cheese and crackers at most wine bars. Here you’ll find meals like; the pozole verde with mussels; starters like the smoked fish rillette with santa barbara seaweed; along with finger foods like the lavender sugar and sea salt almonds. The wines are offered wine by the glass, half-bottles and whole bottles. They carry a wide variety of wines from local to the states, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Austrian and other imported varietals.
12. Bodega Wine Bar
This place was built on the idea that a wine bar didn’t have to be pretentious or pricey but rather fun and inviting. It’s dimly lit and cozy so it’s great for a night out with your best friend or a date night. The food is meant to be shared so tuck into their delicious fig challah and brie grilled cheese, homemade hummus and the Everything’s Better with Bacon pizza because the joy of sharing means MORE food. They conveniently break down the wine menu in light, medium and full bodied sections and even offer sake, soju and specialty drinks like the Bruce Lee made with soju, lemonade, and Blue Curacao.
13. 55 Degree Wines
From the outside it doesn’t look like anything special but once you discover the dimly lit cellar with its copious amount of wine boxes you’ll think otherwise. It’s a wine bar within a wine store and 90 percent of their wines are from Italy. The food menu is limited but what they do have can be paired nicely with various varietals. The best part is that after trying a few (or several) glasses you have the option to take home a box of your favorite.
14. Vertical Wine Bistro
Tucked away in Old Town Pasadena with an enchanting stairway with dangling lights and an equally elegant interior, the ambiance is hands down one of the best in town. The wine list is divided into Old World and New World reds and whites and their drink menu includes draft beers, and cocktails. On the bistro side they offer a dinner menu that includes duck confit poutine fries and seafood risotto plus their charcuterie and artisanal cheeses come with the option to add a decadent truffle honey. But if you’re looking for something off the beaten path check out their raw bar serving up seasonal seafood fare ranging from sea urchin to king crab to main lobster.
15. Vintage Enoteca
The extensive wine selection by sommelier Samantha Johnston includes wines from California, Italy, Portugal, and France that are “off the beaten path” so even if you’re familiar with wines from a particular region you might find something new. The food menu offers mini and small bites with deviled eggs (with caviar or bacon) or caramelized onion dip as well as heartier dishes like the crab mac & cheese and mushroom pasta.
Where is your favorite spot to grab a glass of wine in L.A.? Let us know in the comments below!