“My only regret in life is that I did not drink more wine.” – Ernest Hemingway
Let’s face it – New York City is a wine lover’s paradise! However, navigating your way through the plethora of Manhattan wine bars can be challenging even for the most obsessive wine enthusiast looking to cooler their heels after a full day’s store of Manhattanhenge binge-worthy instagramming! Fortunately, in this handy sequel guide to the 6 Manhattan East rooftop bars you absolutely can’t miss, we’ll equip you to meander your way through New York City’s dynamic, ever-evolving wine scene, as you discover the absolute best wine bars in Midtown East Manhattan. Whether you’re just popping into town for the weekend or planning on an extended stay in the Big Apple, check out the perfect spots to pop open a wine bottle and enjoy a fine glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling or Moscato as you absorb the cool vibes of NYC attractions at night!
1 | Sofia Wine Bar | Nestled in the heart of Midtown East Manhattan, Sofia Wine Bar is a hidden gem that features an intimate atmosphere along with an amazing selection of approximately 80 wines by the glass, as well as more than 25 international beers. The menu offers simple Italian fare such as thin-crust pizzas loaded with mozzarella, prosciutto, meatballs or eggplant, as well as homemade focaccia, meatball sliders, pesto-filled paninis, jumbo shrimp cocktail, meat and cheese platters, tuna tartare and spinach & artichoke dip. According to the New York Magazine Bar Guide, Sofia Wine Bar provides “a simple, relaxed feel” with its “redbrick walls, shelves of gleaming wine bottles, and a dark wooden bar.” It’s the perfect date spot for a romantic evening far from the hustle and bustle of Times Square!
WHERE: 242 East 50th Street, New York, NY 10022 | WHO: (212) 888-8660
2 | La Cava Wine Bar | Ideally located in the Turtle Bay neighborhood of Midtown East, the trendy, French-inspired La Cava Wine Bar offers an inviting atmosphere “where rustic meets modernity.” It’s much more lively than the usual laid-back New York City wine bar, so bring a group of friends along and you can find a reasonably priced glass of wine (for NYC that is!) in the $10 to $12 range. Looking to splurge? Consider opting for a $500 bottle of 2005 Chateau Lynch-Bages Grand Cru Pauillac. If wine isn’t your thing, try one of La Cava’s specialty cocktails like the Cava Cocktail, Pear Martini, La Cava Manhattan or 2nd Avenue Cosmo. La Cava serves lunch and dinner (as well as a “Bottomless Brunch” Saturday and Sunday) with a diverse menu that features sandwiches and paninis, salads, appetizers, filet mignon, pan seared salmon, grilled king shrimp and penne pasta. Best of all, Happy Hour takes place every day featuring $8 wine and $5 beers. The tiny outdoor seating area at La Cava is perfect for people watching and relaxing after a fun-filled day of sightseeing in New York City, but you can always grab and glass and then stroll out into the festivities that adorn the area, including many of the acclaimed holiday markets NYC is famous for during the Winter!
WHERE: 939 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10022 | WHO: (212) 223-1206
3 | Cello Wine Bar | Looking for weird things to do in NYC at night? Look no farther than Cello Wine Bar! Exuding “rustic European charm,” according to New York magazine, the tiny Cello Wine Bar promises a “rustic retreat from wine snobbery.” The “no-nonsense wine list” at Cello is specifically designed to “entice adventurous imbibing” and offers a nice blend of domestic and international wines. Wines by the glass run between $9 and $15. Cello features a small plates menu with such delicacies as roasted eggplant bruschetta, lobster ravioli, seared sesame tuna and margherita pizza, as well as various cheese and meat platters. Happy Hour takes place Monday through Friday from 4 PM to 7 PM and live music can be heard several nights a week.
WHERE: 226 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022 | WHO: (917) 475-1131
4 | Somm Time | A fairly recent addition to the Midtown East Manhattan wine scene, Somm Time first opened its doors in 2016 and is known for its extensive wine selection and enthusiastic team of knowledgeable sommeliers. In fact, if you are interested in learning more about the intricacies of wine, Somm Time is definitely the wine bar to visit in New York City! Wine classes on a variety of specific topics take place here on Saturdays and Sundays. In an interview with Wine4Food.com, Somm Time Wine Director and General Manager Maria Rust remarked that the wine bar’s goal is “to educate without being a snob.” The menu at Somm Time features small plates such as chorizo stuffed olives, crispy cheese curds, flatbread pizza and artisanal cheese, as well as entrees like the Somm Time Burger with Frites, Grilled Cheese and Mussels.
WHERE: 959 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10022 | WHO: (212) 888-7404
5 | Pierre Loti | This French-Mediterranean wine bar is so cool that it actually served as a filming site for the critically acclaimed USA Network psychological thriller Mr. Robot starring Rami Malek and Christian Slater. Pierre Loti offers a seasonal selection of more than 30 wines by the glass, approximately 200 bottle selections and regularly scheduled wine tastings. The Mediterranean-inspired menu at Pierre Loti offers a variety of cheeses, hot and cold tapas, charcuterie boards, salads and entrees such as grilled salmon, grilled branzino, lamb chops, burgers, Turkish beef dumplings and chicken brochette. In addition to its popular Midtown location, Pierre Loti can be found in Union Square at 53 Irving Place and Chelsea at 258 West 15th Street. By the way, the wine bar’s unusual name pays tribute to Pierre Loti, the pseudonym of eccentric French naval officer and author Louis Marie-Julien Viaud (1850-1923), who was known for his exotic novels such as Aziyade (1879) and Madame Chrysantheme (1887), among many others.
WHERE: 300 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022 | WHO: (212) 755-5684
6 | Le Bateau Ivre | Open 20 hours a day (between 8 AM and 4 AM) and known as New York City’s first wine bar (first opening its doors back in 1997), Le Bateau Ivre is an absolutely charming French wine bar that will surely please everyone ranging from casual wine drinkers to hardcore oenophiles. With an extensive selection of 250 wines on its list, frequent wine tastings and a menu full of delicious French bistro fare, Le Bateau Ivre offers a small piece of Paris amid the bustling streets of Midtown East. By the way, “Le Bateau Ivre” translates to “The Drunken Boat,” and pays tribute to the 1871 poem of the same name by the brilliant but troubled French symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud (1854-91).
WHERE: 230 East 51st Street, New York, NY 10022 | WHO: (212) 583-0579
As the old saying goes, “Life’s too short to drink bad wine.” Therefore, try to visit only the best wine bars Manhattan has to offer during your next New York City getaway. And, likewise, if you are seeking quality NYC accommodations in the heart of Midtown East, look no farther than Westgate New York Grand Central. First opened in 1931 and recognized by Historic Hotels of America, Westgate NYC lies in the beautiful Tudor City neighborhood and within walking distance of many wine bars, midtown Manhattan rooftop bars, as well as amazing NYC landmarks such as the Empire State Building, Grand Central Station, the United Nations, Rockefeller Center and Times Square. Looking for unique events in NYC? Check out the best place to see Manhattanhenge 2019!
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