Visiting a specific winery is great, but you’re limited to only the wines that vineyard produces. With wine bars cropping up all over the place, it’s now possible to sample a broad range of varietals from all over the globe. Even better, it’s a night out that can be enjoyed on any budget.
Carl Engbrink, floor manager of Wine Bar NYC in the lower East Village, exemplifies, “We focus on what’s considered to be the Old World: France, Italy and Spain. We are a nice, intimate little space, and people in general consider us to be a very good date spot.” He says, “There are other wine bars that focus on other things: American wines, for example. Some offer live music where people can go with larger groups and hang out.”
It’s not just wine either, most wine bars offer food, and they’re happy to suggest pairings if you’re new to the wine tasting scene. “There are pretty much two schools of pairing wine to food,” says Engbrink. “Either complement or match the flavors in what you’re eating. We really like to help out, and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions.”
Wine bar staffs know their products. They’re given weekly tastings and quizzes and always stay on top of the inventory to provide the best possible experience.
All types of people go to wine bars, those who know what they want, ordering straight from the top shelf, and also those just getting started. Engbrink would like to remove the “snob stamp” from wine, saying that the experience doesn’t have to cost anymore than what you would spend on any other cocktail at a similar establishment.
“We have great wines that we charge $40 a bottle for, and then we also have some amazing wines that cost up to $450 per bottle. It’s really what level you want to put it on.”
The only thing to do now is to go enjoy it. “It’s a great complement to the dining scene in general,” says Engbrink. “It really helps bring out the best in the food, in the night, and the experience in general.”