The Best Places to Drink Wine in Manhattan

An island packed with more than 1.5 million people and nearly as many restaurants and bars, this is arguably the greatest place in the world to drink and eat. As it pertains specifically to wine, the oft-overused claim to have “something for everyone” is not hyperbole. From lists stocked with the greatest wines of the 20th century to natural wine bars to restaurants that instigated and continue to fuel the modern renaissance of Italian wine, Manhattan’s ambitious wine scene really does have it all.

This is also a city that does not follow trends; it sets them. Here, “avant-garde” and “obscure” mean something different than they might in a city less prone to adopting and refashioning all of the cultural bounty that washes into its harbors. This is a place that rewards the adventurous wine drinker, whose only difficulty will be deciding where to drink well, not how. As such, this list is not an album, but an ever-changing and diverse snapshot of some of our favorite places to drink wine at the moment, all of which share a few key things in common. Firstly, they are all also exceptional places to eat. And second, they all represent not only a point of view when it comes to the wine selections, but great value across the board.

  • 1

    Bar Boulud

    Deep and curated with a consistent, confident point of view, Michael Madrigale's New York version of a French brasserie list had become a modern classic in New York long before Amanda Smeltz, formerly of Roberta's, took over the program in 2016. No dogma here, just a strong list of wines that is heavy on Rhône and Burgundy but also includes wines from all over the world that share a similar dedication to terroir and classicism.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • French wine
    • vintage wine
    • champagne
    • full menu
    • charcuterie
  • 2

    Charlie Bird

    A small, liberally windowed space on the border of SoHo, from the street Charlie Bird looks to be a perfectly tame, all nice-looking people quietly enjoying Chef Ryan Hardy's polished Italian fare. But step inside and you're greeted with a seemingly incongruous combo of warm, attentive service and a loud soundtrack that runs the hip-hop gamut from NWA to Nas to Thelonius London. Even more unexpected: Within this glorious paradox of a restaurant lurks one of the city's best wine lists—a tightly curated list of primarily French and Italian wines printed on psychedelic paper reminiscent of '90s spin art. This short ...

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    KNOWN FOR

    • vintage wine
    • champagne
    • Italian wine
    • French wine
    • full menu
    • outdoor / patio
  • 3

    Daniel

    Truly one of New York’s most radiant bars, Daniel’s salon lounge acts as a seamless segue into the next several lavish hours. Its polite and charming bar staff can do all the classic tricks—Martinis, Old-Fashioneds, French 75s—but there’s something light and fruity for the neophyte (the un-ironic White Cosmo), and something weird and savory for the adventurous (the tomato-, miso-, shochu-fueled Mizu Mary 21). On the wine front, Vaidya's list of considerable depth offers one of the city's best opportunities to drink vintage wine, and to do so with the aid of warm, attentive service. And while classics are the name of ...

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • French wine
    • vintage wine
    • bar food
    • full menu
    • champagne
  • 4

    Donostia

    This tiny East Village tapas bar is a shrine to sherry and the Basque tradition of the pinxtos taverna—the ubiquitous incarnation of bar or tavern where locals gather to snack on small plates (called pintxos), gossip, tell stories, and most importantly—drink. By integrating sherry so seamlessly into its taverna concept, Donostia has accomplished something quite meaningful. In effect, it has managed to rescue the category from the realm of hipster esoterica and return it to its native context as one of the world’s most versatile food wines. Rather than treat the wines as a newish fad or curiosity, the list facilitates ...

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • full menu
    • lots of sherry
  • 5

    Eleven Madison Park

    There are few, if any, four-star restaurants that can compete with Eleven Madison Park when it comes to the one-two-three punch of value, depth and service. This is a wine list that has all of the styling of a four-star list—i.e. all of the northern Rhône, Burgundy and Champagne you could ever want to drink—but goes off-piste when it comes to the wine markups, which are remarkably low for a restaurant of this caliber. Another surprise is the collection of German and Austrian wines, a section of the list that expanded significantly under former wine director Dustin Wilson (it's now helmed by Cedric Nicaise). So, while ...

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    KNOWN FOR

    • vintage wine
    • champagne
    • German / Austrian wine
    • low wine markups
    • craft beer
    • craft cocktails
    • fine dining
    • full menu
  • 6

    Fung Tu

    At Fung Tu, a restaurant that melds Chinese with new American with New York ingenuity, sommelier Jason Wagner has built a list of cocktails like the Sherry Shao Xing that both reflect the restaurant’s modern Chinese philosophy and interact with the food in the same thoughtful way his wines do. Located in the bowels of Chinatown, Wagner's short refreshing list of oddball wines from Italy, France and Spain is certainly worth the trip alone. But it's Wagner himself, all boyish charm and exuberance, who makes the wine experience here so unique. Quite simply, this is where you should be drinking if you need to be reminded ...

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    KNOWN FOR

    • natural wine
    • craft cocktails
    • full menu
  • 7

    Gramercy Tavern

    Juliette Pope, the longtime wine director for Danny Meyer's beloved Gramercy Tavern, has been one of the city's quiet influencers for more than a decade. As one of Meyer's most lauded and enduring restaurants, GT has managed to prove that it isn't actually impossible to be everything to everyone. At once casual and formal—depending on what sort of experience you want to have—the experience at GT is as well-rounded as the wine list. Pope's talent is in making a relatively broad list feel inclusive. Part of this has to do with the staff at GT, which is one of the city's most well-educated (thanks to Pope) on the wine ...

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    KNOWN FOR

    • Italian wine
    • French wine
    • German / Austrian wine
    • vintage wine
    • craft beer
    • craft cocktails
    • full menu
  • 8

    Lupa Osteria

    There are fewer more comforting meals to be had in New York City than at Mario Batali's Lupa, where a bowlful of bucatini all'amatriciana and a bottle of Barolo have been satisfying hungry New Yorkers for over a decade. Under the guidance of Jeff Porter, now wine director for all of the B&B Hospitality restaurants, the list is better than it's been in years, with expanded depth in Piedmont and Tuscany and a renewed focus on top-quality regional wines. While the cozy front space is one of the best small dining rooms in the city—especially in the winter—nothing beats dining at the tiny bar, which seats about seven.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • full menu
    • craft cocktails
    • Italian wine
    • vintage wine
    • low wine markups
    • lots of amari
  • 9

    Má Pêche

    In the Chambers Hotel, perched above the dining room of the stateliest of David Chang’s Momofuku restaurants, the bar at Ma Pêche is a quirky, comfortable eagles’ nest with access to the full restaurant menu. The beer and sake lists are impeccably composed, while the cocktails are idiosyncratic, mostly refreshing takes on classics. The wine list, which was recently reimagined by Momofuku beverage director Jordan Salcito, has turned it into a bona fide wine destination as well. While the list provides ample temptation on the high-end, particularly in Burgundy, the list is also value-conscious, offering a ...

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft beer
    • craft cocktails
    • full menu
    • good wine
  • 10

    Maialino

    Danny Meyer's Italian crown jewel, Maialino, is off the lobby of the Gramercy Park Hotel and functions as an all-day Roman holiday with breakfast service trickling into lunch and on through aperitivo hour into dinner. The centerpiece bar looks out onto Gramercy Park, and boasts a mighty collection of amari and a mile long list of Italian wines. As with all of Meyer's restaurants, the list here offers an uncommon amount of value, particularly on the high end. So if you're on the hunt for old Barolo, specifically, there are few wine lists that will properly satisfy the craving at prices this low. Currently under the ...

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    KNOWN FOR

    • full menu
    • craft cocktails
    • Italian wine
    • champagne
    • vintage wine
    • low wine markups
    • lots of amari
  • 11

    Marta

    Chef Nick Anderer's (of Maialino) new Flatiron pizza joint, Marta, immediately came out the gate with one of the best new Italian wine lists since All'Onda. Helmed by Jack Mason, Marta's well-edited list of regional Italian wines is particularly attractive for those hunting value under $75. The list also boasts a sizeable list of champagnes with a surprising number of bottles under $100 (some of which would be priced around, at least, $150 or more elsewhere).

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    KNOWN FOR

    • Italian wine
    • champagne
    • low wine markups
    • full menu
  • 12

    Narcissa

    A relative newcomer, Narcissa has quickly become a much-needed wine destination in the no man's land that is northern edge of the Bowery. The list, the handiwork of wine director Ashley Santoro splits its focus between Europe (France, Italy and Spain, primarily) and America's new avant-garde. Across the board the list offers a considerable amount of value and notable depth when it comes to old-school California cabernet, specifically, but shines most in its thoughtfulness and compatibility with Chef John Fraser's nuanced vegetable-heavy menu. The short list of cocktails is also well-crafted and the bartenders all know ...

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    KNOWN FOR

    • New California wine
    • French wine
    • full menu
    • craft cocktails
    • outdoor / patio
  • 13

    Nice Matin

    The Upper West Side isn't exactly a wine lover's paradise. Plauged with block after block of generic restaurants content with slinging Cavit pinot grigio, Nice Matin—a French bistro with a deep, leather-bound list of French wines—would be notable anywhere, but is particularly unexpected in context. Especially at prices that dip as low as they do here. If you happen to be up near the Museum of Natural History, this is well worth a detour, particularly in the summer when you can grab a table outside, a bottle of white Burgundy and while the afternoon away. Be forewarned that the secret has been out on Nice Matin for ...

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    KNOWN FOR

    • French wine
    • vintage wine
    • low wine markups
    • full menu
    • outdoor / patio
  • 14

    Pearl & Ash

    Patrick Cappiello's list at Pearl & Ash has taken all of the depth and classicism you'd expect from a fine dining wine list and then littered it with an exciting, and unexpected, mix of farther-flung heroes of France's new avant-garde—from Ganevat and Selosse to rising Loire stars like Domaine de Bellivière. Since opening, Pearl & Ash has become the de-facto hangout for the downtown wine crowd, so if you happen to wander in past 11 p.m. you're bound to find a number of the city's best sommeliers bellied up to the bar. Also: If you order a bottle of champagne, do not be alarmed when Cappiello mounts the bar and sabers ...

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    KNOWN FOR

    • champagne
    • natural wine
    • vintage wine
    • low wine markups
    • full menu
  • 15

    The Ten Bells

    New York's closest approximation of a Parisian natural wine bar, The Ten Bells has been a magnet for the city's downtown wine crowd for years. Named for the London pub where Jack the Ripper was said to pick up his victims, the bar, which opened in 2008, remains one of the best places to grab a bottle of wine from the Loire, some oysters or even make a meal out of the menu of simple, French- and Spanish-inspired small plates.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • natural wine
    • bar menu
    • oysters / raw bar
  • 16

    Wildair

    Wildair lands in the LES as the kid sister to the excellent tasting-menu-only Contra a few doors down on Orchard St. Unlike Contra, food here is à la carte, all paired nicely with wine director Jorge Riera's well-edited wine list. Like Contra, Wildair focuses on natural wine, showing a particular affinity for the Loire Valley.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • natural wine
    • full menu

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