Wine people are easy to pick on; I get it. Sometimes we ask for it. But the notion that we are all weird nerds who only want to talk about malolactic fermentation and listen to bad music at really lame wine bars with wine-themed décor, crappy cheese plates, and bad lighting — is a stereotype, and a stale one at best.
Sure, most of us have been to a corny wine bar, whether on purpose, accident, or because of the misjudgment of a friend you realized you no longer have anything in common with. There might have been a chandelier made of wine glasses and a soundtrack that includes Taylor Swift, and maybe a few people arguing about microclimates or something. But that is hardly representative of the wine bar scene in general.
What about The Ten Bells in New York, Terroir in San Francisco, Bar Covell in LA, or Bar Avignon and Kir in Portland? I am not going to get melodramatic and call this the Golden Age for wine bars, but I'd argue that wine bars have actually never been better than they are now.
The best wine bars across the country have managed to a lasso a counterculture of drinkers who are open and interested in wine; they've become a bigger part of the urban drinking life as a result. And new wine bars are seeing the opportunity to build on what these places have achieved in different ways.
Below you'll find 18 that challenge the stereotype. Please feel free to nominate those that I may have missed in the comments so we can keep this thing current. Now, go forth.
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