Enjoy a glass of wine at Frenchie Boston | Courtesy of Frenchie Boston
Boston is perfect for wine enthusiasts, with the city home to trendy locales that stock biodynamic bottles and Euro-inspired haunts showcasing international vintages.
Boston is sprinkled with spots for couples to cozy up with a cabernet or for friends to share stories over a bottle of sauvignon blanc. With more young female sommeliers getting into the local grape game in recent years, there’s plenty for oenophiles to raise a glass to. Here’s Culture Trip’s list of the city’s 10 best wine bars in which to sip, savor and socialize.
Wine Bar, Seafood, Tapas, $$$
The focus is on smaller vintners at Haley.Henry | Courtesy of Haley.Henry
Industrial-chic Haley.Henry showcases small-production wines along with an extensive tinned seafood selection from Spain and Portugal at its Downtown Crossing location. Helmed by industry vet Haley Fortier, the hip bar buzzes with beats from the likes of Tyler, the Creator and Pusha T while patrons sample vintages made less than 5,000 cases at a time, such as the quirky gamay rosé from California’s Hobo Wine Company. While the wines themselves are unexpected, Haley.Henry’s guests can always count on two things: a warm welcome from Fortier and even more hospitable service – the bar will open any full bottle if you’ll commit to two glasses.
Tucked away in neighboring Somerville’s Bow Market, edgy Rebel Rebel pours natural wines with no nonsense in a candle-lit interior bedecked with local art. The 20-seat spot serves “cool shit by the glass” from an ever-changing selection scrawled on a chalkboard, featuring offbeat wines such as Austrian producer Meinklang farm’s night-harvested Nacht. With a name nodding to David Bowie, the lady-led locale hosts the Natural Wine 101 class each Sunday – where guests can belly up to the gold-leafed bar and sample three varietals – as well as weekend tarot card readings, for patrons looking for a dash of the occult with their vino.
Frenchie Boston offers a large selection of wines by the glass | Courtesy of Frenchie Boston
Nestled in a garden-level space below a Victorian brick row home, Frenchie brings a taste of Paris to the streets of the South End. The Instagrammers’ paradise features white brick, bistro chairs and moody floral wallpaper, as well as an Old World-leaning list of 26 by-the-glass options and a slew of bottles. Despite its bevy of beverages, the bistro is known for its frosé, which is best enjoyed al fresco on Frenchie’s patio while watching Bostonians shake off their winter blues come summertime.
The focus is on female wine producers at Nathálie | Courtesy of Haley.Henry
Owned and operated by the team behind Haley.Henry, this Fenway locale evokes a feminine, romantic vibe with an interior swathed in floral wallpaper, touches of gold and sumptuous banquette seating. The wines are equally female focused – every option on the by-the-glass list is from a female producer. Guests nosh on complimentary corn nuts while watching tapas plates being prepared in the open kitchen, sipping on libations like Le Clot de l’Origine’s Soif de Plaisir, a juicy syrah/carignan blend. If the spot’s petite space is full, imbibers can spill onto the bar’s outdoor patio to enjoy the urban hubbub.
Spoke Wine Bar, located in Somerville’s Davis Square neighborhood, is a gem among the booze- and beer-focused joints in the area. It serves up New American dishes that showcase seasonal produce from local purveyors – such as sunchoke donuts with Cabot cheddar and powdered leeks – alongside a selection of biodynamic wines. Spoke has a laid-back energy that’s perfect for lingering over a sparkling chardonnay from California vineyard Donkey and Goat or attending events like book signings and “meet the winemaker” mixers.
Amid Tasting Counter’s splendor, the restaurant houses a humble wine bar where no reservation is required to sample the selection of organic and biodynamic bottles. The wines run the gamut from fruity to funky – such as the minerally weiss from German producer Weingut Beurer – but the sweetest note is that most glasses are modestly priced, beginning at $10. Pair one with some seasonal $6 small plates for a budget-friendly night out – we’ll drink to that.
At Taste Wine Bar & Kitchen, it’s all about education. The Downtown restaurant offers classes and events during regular operating hours – such as blind tastings and Tuesday trivia nights that focus on different wine regions – so there’s always an experience that pairs well with a glass of one of the spot’s small-batch selections. Decked out with blond wood, exposed pipes and sputnik chandeliers, Taste provides an elegant environment to dive into its wine list, which identifies the body, origin and tasting notes of each vintage, so both wine novices and oenophiles can make a palate-pleasing pick.
Part of industry legend Barbara Lynch’s restaurant empire, Sportello serves up trattoria-inspired Italian dishes in a chic “counter-service” joint. The Fort Point spot houses an intimate six-seat wine bar in a cozy corner of the dining room where patrons can sip and sample the restaurant’s approachable wine collection, boasting varied varietals from the north, south and central regions of Italy. After noshing on one of Sportello’s house-made pasta dishes – like tortelloni with broccoli and pecorino – keep the party going downstairs with a bespoke cocktail at Drink, another Lynch-led establishment.
Forage offers a locally sourced, seasonal menu | Courtesy of Forage
Although not a wine bar in the traditional sense, it would be a shame to leave this upscale Cambridge bistro off our list. The restaurant offers a locally sourced, seasonal menu along with an approachable selection of natural and biodynamic wines – such as juicy reds from Spanish vintner La Fanfarria – both of which can be enjoyed at the cozy bar. Forage’s true claim to fame, though, is its wine dinners that take place every Thursday evening. The feasts feature four courses with corresponding pairings that revolve around a quirky central theme like “eat your invasives,” a meal centered on foraged edible weeds.
Inspired by a hilltop that butchery chef-owner Barbara Lynch saw on her inaugural trip to Italy, The Butcher Shop is tucked in a cozy corner on the South End’s lively Tremont Street. The pint-size spot features Old World wines hailing from Italy, France and Spain made by family producers who have been crushing grapes for generations. Most of the 100-plus list is available by the glass, and all selections pair well with the restaurant’s house-made charcuterie and generously portioned cheese boards. Trimmed with white painted brick, touches of brass and a chalkboard wall detailing the daily wine specials, The Butcher Shop is the ideal place to sip a rich red and rub elbows with Bostonians.