The Greek playwright Euripides once said,“Both to the rich and poor, wine is the happy antidote for sorrow.” Cypriots certainly find some truth in this, with growing numbers of wine bars across the island.
According to archaeologists, wine has been a part of Cypriot life and business for nearly 6,000 years, and it is still a big part of the local diet, with numerous wine-producing villages and a major festival in the island’s wine capital, Limassol. Going out for a glass (or bottle) of wine is customary here, and these bars offer a balanced blend of locally made and international wines.
Vino Cultura Wine Bar
Bar, Wine Bar, Wine Seller, Spanish, Tapas, Fusion, $$$
This wine bar’s vision is to enhance people’s knowledge of wine and offer them unique tasting opportunities. As well as having almost 30 wines by the glass on the menu, Vino Cultura also takes pride in its temperature-controlled cellars that keep the product in perfect condition. The venue is decorated with high tables and low lighting; the service is known to be quick, and the trained waiters will help you navigate the menu if you need advice. Pair your wine with the delicious tapas they prepare here, for a more complete experience. You can even buy wine from the shop and attend wine seminars, which they announce on social media.
Operating as a wine bar in the evenings and a deli in the daytime, Barrique has a become a popular weekend spot. They provide a constantly updated list of wines at affordable prices ranging from €3 to €7 a glass. There’s a great wine-and-cheese-platter combo, or you can choose to indulge in a full meal from the seasonal menu. Lunch can include pasta with oxtail ragu, gremolata and goat’s cheese mousse, crab quinoa salad and citrus salmon with beans and brown rice.
This corner bistro oozes Italian flair with its cosy atmosphere and candlelit tables. Decorated in red and black, Il Baccaro is located in a residential area away from the buzz of the centre, but has become a favourite among wine lovers who seek a casual trattoria-like setting. Bacari are taverns in Venice where friends meet for a laugh, good food and a glass of wine, and Il Baccaro offers just that. The wine bar offers cicchetti (small Venetian bites), salads, pizzas, pastas and other authentic recipes from Venice.
The Winery is located in a quiet alley between the busy Onasagorou and Ledras streets of Nicosia’s Old Town. It might seem small from the outside, but the venue is extensive, with decorative wooden furniture, stone walls and glass doors. Admiring the architecture is something you’ll definitely be doing here while you are going over the long wine list. What distinguishes this venue from the rest is that they produce their own wine, and the equipment used can be seen behind the bar. Their house wine was previously available only by the glass, but they are now working towards producing a bottled version, which will be available in autumn 2019. Until then, you can choose from their collection of local and foreign wines. As you may have gathered by now, Cypriots like to enjoy their alcohol with some nibbles, so The Winery also offers a delicious assortment of platters, tapas and main dishes.
Silver Star claims to have kickstarted the after-work drinks scene in Nicosia since its opening in 2010. The carefully- curated wine list focusses on low-intervention wines with few or no additives. Accompany your wine (or gin cocktail, which Silver Star also specialises in) with cheese and charcuterie platters from the delicatessen next door, Kantina. The space is primarily outdoors in both summer and winter, using wine barrels as tables, and the crowd often sprawls across the pavement.
Tucked away on Stasikratous Street, Artigiano is nestled between the area’s many cafés. There are only three or four tables indoors, so most visitors choose to settle in the outdoor area. There are 80 wines on offer including red, white, rosé, sweet and sparkling. Pay attention to how the 16 by-the-glass wines are poured from a Tuscan enomatic wine reservation system – a dispenser on the wall filled with wine bottles that pour out the desired quantity of wine at the touch of a button.
This small wine bar is a unique addition to the café-heavy neighbourhood of Egkomi. The decor is modern, with plants hanging over the bar, high red stools and thick, wooden tables. You can choose from 100 wines ranging from Cypriot to Chilean, though only four are offered by the glass. Don’t forget to try their Mediterranean-infused tapas while listening to the groovy background tunes.
Last but not least is To Potopolio, a busy after-work hangout bar that’s buzzing every day of the week. Wine lovers have 120 different wines to choose from and this bar prides itself on serving unusual grape varieties such as Mencia, Verdejo, Tannat and Duras from Italy, Spain and France. But it’s not just a place for wine, as premium beers from Cyprus, Belgium and Germany are popular as well. It gets packed, and it’s recommended to reserve a table if you’re going after 8pm.