America's best wine bars
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America’s best wine bars distinguish themselves by offering a special atmosphere—alluring, but not snobby—along with wine lists notable for their breadth or an intriguing regional specialty, such as Spain’s Basque region. They share an emphasis on artisanal, pair-able foods. And of course they have sommeliers who know their stuff. Visiting a wine bar like Kir is a way to travel vicariously, while others encourage you to sample the local bounty.
Such satisfaction comes at a price, but these wines are made to be savored and are served in an atmosphere where you’ll want to linger. Cheers!
D.O.C. Wine Bar (Photo: D.O.C. Wine Bar)
Candlelit corners and fireside couches will make you feel instantly comfortable at this Lincoln Park bar. The extensive menu encourages sampling by offering flights and half bottles from around the globe; there are plenty of choices for novices and connoisseurs alike. The grub is equally worldly, ranging from chorizo-stuffed dates to rigatoni sautéed with fennel sausage. If you’re just grazing, opt for the cured meats or a selection of hard-to-find dessert cheeses like Cocoa Cardona and Raspberry BellaVitano.
Great Match: The roasted-beet salad and a glass of 2009 Andrian Pinot Bianco (Italy), $20 total.
The Butcher Shop (Photo: Justin Ide)
A homage to traditional European boucheries, this rustic neighborhood hangout is centered around a huge butcher block that’s replenished with freshly baked loaves and bottles of olive oil. The menu goes whole hog—hot dog à la maison, homemade sausages, pâtés, and terrines—while its wine selection, helmed by renowned sommelier Cat Silirie, relies on bottles from Italy, France, and Spain.
Great Match: The mortadella antipasti plate and a glass of NV Medici Ermete Concerto Lambrusco (Italy), $26 total.
Bar Covell (Photo: Alen Lin)
Improvised wallpaper (pages from old encyclopedias) and no official wine menu reflect the laid-back vibe of this Hollywood Boulevard joint. Wines by the glass change daily; recent crowd-pleasers included a zesty, sparkling Malbec from the highlands of Mendoza,