Where to Sip Wines in Los Angeles
A.O.C. Wine Bar
Sure, Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne’s A.O.C. has been on many of our lists, from best cocktails to outdoor dining to best brunches, but first and foremost, A.O.C. is a wine bar. It’s in the name, after all. The wine list features only organic, biodynamic, or sustainable wines from around the world, with emphasis on France and California. It doesn’t hurt that you can drink them all while enjoying Suzanne Goin’s award-winning cooking.
Augustine Wine Bar
This wine bar was opened by the people behind Bar Covell, which is also on this list, but both deserve to mention. Augustine is worth the drive to Sherman Oaks for wine connoisseurs, thanks to its rotating list rare vintage wines, available by the glass. These come from a collection which dates back to the 1860 and are poured alongside wines from this century from all over the world. All are paired with food from Chef Matt Wilson, formerly of New York’s Bouley, and features dishes like smoked duck flatbread, crispy pork terrine, and octopus torta.
The chalkboard at Bacaro showcases a rotating menu of wines, including red, white, sparkling, and sweet wines. Each selection on the list is replaced after each case, and since this downtown wine bar maintains its popularity, the chalkboard menu changes rapidly, keeping things interesting for regulars. Sometimes you may find off-beat wines from Morocco or other lesser known producers. Sit at the communal table and partake in half-off wines and $5 plates for happy hour on Mondays.
This cozy Silver Lake bar offers more than 50 wines by the glass. They focus on affordable wines from around the globe, including lesser known regions including Morocco, Bosnia, and Slovenia. They are paired with Mediterranean inspired menu. Sit around the 360-degree bar or in the dining room and watch the action in the open kitchen. Barbrix also holds special wine tasting dinners each month on the patio and offers great happy hours.
This Los Feliz bar opened six years ago, but it still remains one of the gold standards for wine bars in Los Angeles. Co-founder Matthew Kaner even won the title of Food & Wine’s Sommelier of the Year in 2013. Their impressive selection of about 150 wines is constantly changing, but luckily their knowledgeable staff is always on hand to help guide your selection.
Esters Wine Shop & Bar
The Westside didn’t know what it needed until Esters Wine Shop & Bar opened in Santa Monica. The newest spot from the Rustic Canyon family features meticulously curated small-batch wine producers, both at the swanky wine bar and their large retail selection. The wines are paired with bar snacks and small plates from Rustic Canyon’s Chef Jeremy Fox alongside a nice cheese and charcuterie selection. There are wine tastings on Sundays, available for casual drop-ins within a two hour period.
Opened by long-time wine distributor Lorena Porras, this neighborhood bar offers a nice selection of small-production wines with a friendly atmosphere that gets the locals returning again and again to the patio or for trivia night. You can find affordable wines by the glass, even when you’re not there for their great happy hour (think $5 food and $5 wines). Try their monthly rotating wine flights or get a bottle from their shop that you can enjoy there for just the retail price.
Vertical Wine Bistro
Tucked up a staircase in an alleyway, this sleek, sleeper of a gem in Old Town Pasadena offers dozens of wines by the glass. If choosing from among what is possibly the most extensive by-the-glass list in Pasadena seems a daunting task, there are wine flights from different regions and an “omakase” flight to introduce guests to new finds. Vertical Wine Bistro offers a full dinner menu alongside a nice selection of cheese, charcuterie, and raw seafood. Friday nights at Vertical call for DJs and dancing and late night happy hour.
One can always find unusual varietals on the wine list at Vintage Enoteca, making it easy to be adventurous at this friendly wine bar with a neighborhood feel. Unpretentious and relaxing, the bar also hosts fun food and wine pairing events – think Halloween candy or Grilled Cheese Mondays. Grab a seat on the porch and watch people walk by on Sunset Blvd while you sip and eat, or grab you friends for some post-work happy hour from 4-7pm.
Wally’s Beverly Hills
Angelenos know Wally’s Wine is one of the best places to buy wines in the city, so when they open a wine and cheese bar in Beverly Hills, you go. There are 100 wines available by the glass and a full food menu of French-Californian cuisine available from lunch to late night (the bar stays open until 2am) prepared by Chef David Feau. If for some reason you can’t find anything you want in the list of 100 wines, you can get any of the bottles from their retail selection to enjoy at your table.