Here's a list of some of the best value wine lists across the country, both large and small, old and new. Some of these lists are classics, and many of them are off the beaten path, but all of them defy the accepted norm for restaurant wine list pricing. As it stands, the standard wine list markup is three times the wholesale price of any given bottle. Of course, markups vary from list to list and even within a list (where the lower-end wine can see higher markups, and the higher-end, lower markups).
But this list is about the exceptions. Take, for example, Bern's Steakhouse in Tampa. Its 220-page, five-pound list full of fine and rare wines priced below retail has long been a sort of mecca for wine nerds. But the cheap and deep business model that Bern's has become synonymous with has become increasingly difficult to sustain; most of the restaurants that once embraced this model have either closed or their stocks have been ravaged.
But there are some that continue to defy the odds, and others that embody a different kind of value wine list, like Vinegar Hill House in Brooklyn whose idea of value is having great, off-the-beaten path wines in the $20 range. Other examples include Pix Patisserie/Bar Vivant in Portland, OR with 150 Champagnes all with very slim markups; Becco in New York with its "Reserve list"; and Anthony's Pier 4 in Boston with its unlikely selection of vintage Burgundy wearing 1990s pricing.
All the restaurants below have been chosen not just for value, but the overall quality of the selections. There are still plenty more hiding throughout the country, so if you have a restaurant you think should be added, please do leave your suggestions in the comments.
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