sel rrose wine bar

Beyond the yellow cabs, Brooklyn Bridge and ever-Instagrammable Manhattan skyline, New York is home to some of the world’s most discerning drinkers and diners, making the metropolis a playground for voracious appetites and “vin vivants” alike. Not only can you find just about every restaurant imaginable, look a little closer and you’ll uncover a vibrant, ever-evolving wine scene. Dotted throughout the endless concrete avenues is a mishmash of boozy hideouts, perfect for spending a Syrah-soaked hour or two.

The wonderland of wine bars ranges from chic and sassy to downright dives, each offering welcome refuge from the busy city streets. We’ve sipped and slurped our way around town for our round-up of New York’s very best wine bars.

Sel Rrose

It’s impossible to resist the charm of Sel Rrose. Faded wallpaper peels artfully from the walls, industrial lamps hang over the long bar and the place oozes a kind of effortless Parisian glamour. Outside, pastel-pink exterior and gilt signage subtly catch the eyes of Manhattan’s finest; this corner drinking den lures a suitably fashionable clientele – perfect for people watching. But it was the $1 oyster happy hour that drew us in, and the sparkling wine pairings that kept us here. Honey-gold Crémant de Jura flows by the glass and there’s a small section dedicated to “orange wines” – rich textured whites made in the style of reds with prolonged skin contact to leave them full bodied and flavoursome. Beyond oysters there’s a selection of larger plates (don’t even try to resist the lobster roll and chips) and the babble of chatter continues long into the night. It’s all too easy to lose track of time and the night always seems to end too soon, but this charmer will keep you coming back for more.

  • +1 212 226 2510
  • Go to Website
  • 1 Delancey Street
    Lower East Side
    NY 10002

The Ten Bells

The Ten Bells has long been a staple of New York’s wine scene – and for good reason. With moody lighting, an ornate tin roof and seductive flicker of candlelight there’s an air of gothic romanticism about the place, offset by the lively chitchat of crowds who gather for post-work drinks.

The room is an emporium of impressive bottles and the ever-changing wine specials are scrawled on a chalkboard, with a selection guaranteed to keep any aficionado hooked for hours. The list is put together by Sev Perru – somewhat of a rockstar in the world of sommeliers – who hosts regular meet-the-maker tasting events when her wine-producing pals are in town. Alongside unusual and hidden gems are plenty of crowd pleasers, so just in case you’re not well versed in the style of Georgian amphorae-aged wines, the team are happy to pour you something delicious from their house selection.

The Ten Bells is the kind of place you sidle into for a post-work pick-me-up only to pull up a seat at the bar, get lost in conversation and emerge hours later with new friends, ready to totter off together for late-night dumplings.

  • +1 212 228 4450
  • Go to Website
  • 247 Broome Street
    Lower East Side
    NY 10002

Rebelle

Amid the hustle and bustle of the Lower East Side, Rebelle’s airy loft feel is a welcoming retreat to while away the hours over a glass (bottle) of something luscious. The marble bar top stretches into the room and the exposed raw concrete space acts as a blank canvas, highlighting the menu and wine list. And what a list it is – the self confessed “American kids doing the French thing” offer an entirely Franco-American selection – 99 pages traversing through regional France and all over the States, digging out unknown and long-forgotten varieties from all areas alongside the classics. Such a list isn’t for the faint-hearted, but sommelier Kim can steer you through with knowing ease and a smile, and may go on to impress you further by remembering your order when you next visit several weeks down the line…

Something about that marble bar makes us want to sip sparkles, and with around 100 bubbly options on the list it would be rude not to. Order a plate of scallops with ginger cream to go with it, or maximise your weekend by visiting for boozy brunch. It’s downtown dining done right.

June

A favourite among the in-the-know crowd, June has an all-natural wine list. First popular in Paris, the wave of enthusiasm for “vin naturel” has hit New York big-time and this Cobble Hill boozer boasts some of the best. You’ll find all kinds of wonder here, from marmalade-hued “orange wines” to more familiar tipples. With lots of by-the-glass options, the best way forward is to put yourself in the hands of the team who’ll pair with seasonal small plates so delicious you’ll be scooping and savouring until the end. A cosy spot that harks back to the bygone days of Parisian drinking dens, June is great for long catch ups with old friends, with low ceilings, snug booths and dim lighting providing the perfect backdrop for salacious secret swapping.

Wildair

All exposed brick and understated interiors, irreverently jazzed up with simple blocks of bold green and yellow, Wildair is the cooler, younger sibling of highly acclaimed Contra. Popular with the Lower East Side crowds and out-of-towners alike, it’s always heaving. The natural-leaning wine list favours organic and biodynamic options, and the inventive selection presents a handful of the on-trend pét-nat (naturally lightly sparkling) as well funky, farmyard-y stuff from Europe. Key to any good wine bar, the team can take you through the list with boundless enthusiasm and genuine joy, and many of the wines are offered in magnum size – worth it if you’re in a group.

High-top tables set the mood for relaxed communal dining and as the plates come pouring out from the kitchen, you can voyeur other people’s selection as you get stuck into your own. The only drawback of this walk-in only joint is that the enjoyment within is matched by the queues outside, so get there early and be prepared to wait.

  • +1 646 964 5624
  • Go to Website
  • 142 Orchard Street
    Lower East Side
    NY 10002

The Four Horsemen

On an inconspicuous stretch of Williamsburg’s Grand Street lies The Four Horsemen, a tranquil, minimalist hideaway where cool-kid somms pour the juice of hand-selected, unusual and rare wines from around the world. Part-owned by LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy (one of the “four horsemen”) this place has exactly the kind of vibe you’d hope for; laid-back, relaxed and with an excellent soundtrack to match. The Scandi-inspired decor has the feel of a hip, Nordic cabin in the woods – albeit one frequented by ripped jean and leather-clad city dwellers –  providing a glimmer of escapism in the urban surroundings.

A small but perfectly formed selection of tasting plates courses out from the open kitchen, but we recommend pulling up a seat around the open bar where you can see what the team are pouring. One of our favourite things about this place is their programme of collaboration with sommeliers and chefs from around the world, who curate the list and/or menu on the night. Recent visits have included Stephen Harris of The Sportsman in London (named UK’s best restaurant last year) and chef Thomas Keller from Napa’s famed French Laundry. On these nights the bar is rammed and the drinks are flowing, but if you don’t fancy elbowing others out of the way to get in on the action choose any other midweek evening and you’ll have space to breathe. You can hang out here for hours; pop in for a glass after work, stay for dinner then fall into the street long after dark, again and again and again…

Wildair

The Four Horsemen

The Ten Bells

Rebele

June

Sel Rrose

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