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 list alone would earn Charlie Bird a spot on most “best of” lists, but it’s what lies beyond the obvious that makes the wine experience here so compelling. Not only is the wine service here sharp and informed, but if you engage with anyone on the floor and show interest in going off-script there are many wines in the cellar worth splurging on, and they will gladly be your guide. While the list was originally curated by Robert Bohr (formerly of Cru), it’s now under the day-to-day watch of Grant Reynolds, one of the city’s brightest young sommeliers.