While it wasn’t very long ago that New Yorkers were plagued by steamy summer days and rooftop nights, late fall has officially arrived, and winter is coming. There is nothing sweeter than cozying up to a date or toasting with a group of friends over the holiday classic that is mulled wine. We profile establishments that offer this delicious drink. So go forth and watch the scenery outside bar windows transition from fall leaves to December snowflakes.
Imagine an inviting, bistro-style hideaway in the East Village with inventive gastro-pub fare and an outstanding yet thoughtfully curated selection of beer and wine. Welcome to the Brindle Room. Tucked away on an unassuming residential street near Tompkins Square Park, the charming locale has been garnering laudatory reviews for its vegetarian options like stewed lentils and roasted beets alongside its now famous indulgent steakhouse burger topped with caramelized onions and accompanied by immensely satisfying steakhouse fries. Brindle Room is a must any time of year, but it is a truly memorable repast in the colder months when customers can sip its expertly made mulled wine with its first-rate food.
Eyeing the rustic wood door, shelf-lined walls, and homey vibe, customers might believe they accidentally walked into the living room of a historic New England home rather than a bar in the industrial-turned-trendy Gowanus section of Brooklyn. This bar excels in its wines. The helpful staff will teach you the difference between a Pinot Noir and a Sancerre while delivering decadent cheese-centric bites like their revelatory mac ‘n’ cheese with mushrooms, gruyère and truffle oil and thoughtfully prepared cheese plates inspired by various countries. During this time of year, do not miss the mulled wine that proves Black Mountain Wine House’s commitment to a high-quality imbibing experience.
As New York City’s neighborhoods become more gentrified, residents fear losing their beloved local establishments. Judging by the crowds flocking to this small bar with a dark wood exterior on Second Avenue in the East Village, Shoolbred’s is not facing a threat to its popularity anytime soon. Shoolbred’s may be narrow and dimly lit year-round, but its roaring fireplace, welcoming leather chairs, and dark wood bar with stained glass window accents beg for a visit on a chilly, gloomy day. Serving a wide array of cocktails to a crowd of co-eds and young professionals, this locale is also recognized for its seasonal mulled cider and classic hot toddy. Devouring one of these drinks in this cozy establishment will make you feel as though you have been transported to a traditional, time-worn pub far outside the boundaries of Manhattan.
The Spotted Pig, one of the first examples of the New York City gastro-pub movement, has transformed from a humble West Village corner restaurant with a red brick exterior to a superstar culinary destination. We already know that the wunderkind restaurateur, Spotted Pig co-founder April Bloomfield, can create a master-level gourmet burger topped with Roquefort cheese and paired with matchstick fries. However, do not leave her stomping grounds without tasting her delectable pig’s ear salad, guinea hen, or romanesco cauliflower. Her mulled wine creation makes a welcome appearance on the menu as the temperature drops. Believe me, the wait for a table here is well worth the inspired, oft imitated beverage.
Wine lovers in New York City often are faced with the challenge of finding a friendly yet sophisticated wine bar for a post-work celebration or a romantic, wallet-friendly date. Ayza Wine and Chocolate Bar satisfies the needs of oenophiles with two lovely locations in the West Village and NoMad. Boasting an extensive wine list, Ayza encourages patrons to pair a glass of their favorite wine with its appetizer-portion fiery chicken lollipops, eggplant tartine, and chocolate pizza. Customers may flock there for the chocolate martinis and intricate cocktails, but make your prerogative the seasonal mulled wine. Paired with a selection of gourmet Jacques Torres chocolates, the spiced wine will certainly chase away the winter blues and weekday work woes.
Some bars simply have it all, an unbeatable location, a perfect interior with a mahogany bar, an outdoor beer garden and a selection of beers and wines that keeps first-time customers and loyal patrons returning again and again. Located in the heart of the foodie neighborhood of Williamsburg, Spuyten Duyvil resides in a quaint former railroad apartment denoted by a tin ceiling and wood-plank floors and can be found adjacent to Brooklyn hotspots, The Knitting Factory and Fette Sau. After reveling at a concert or consuming a brisket feast, head to this deservedly praised beer bar. The selection of brews, from Flemish to Wallonian to even a Sri Lankan option, is outstanding. Domestic beers run the gamut from local favorite, Sixpoint, to Midwestern staple, Lakefront Brewery. As resplendent as the beer options are, Spuyten Duyvil does not forget its wine. Seasonally appropriate German-inspired gluhwein is a delicately spiced option that pairs well with a cheese and charcuterie platter.
The Upper East Side enclave of Yorkville may now be recognized for its trendy bars and international restaurants, but the area had a remarkably different identity several decades ago. Known as a close-knit community for 19th- and 20th-century German immigrants, this compact neighborhood boasted butcher shops (notably the extant Schaller & Weber storefront), German watering holes and an overall feeling of gemütlichkeit. Sadly, few examples of Yorkville’s past stand today. Heidelberg remains the steadfast stronghold and attracts local residents and tourists for its traditional German beers (Augustiner, Spaten and Franziskaner are present) and generous portions of hearty weisswurst, knackwurst, schnitzel, and the showstopper entrée of pork knuckle. Heidelberg conveys a traditional Bavarian experience, complete with pastoral murals, but it truly shines when it serves its deeply flavorful gluhwein, a mulled wine that will inspire you to take the next flight to Munich to sample more of the seasonal favorite at one of Germany’s fairy-tale Christmas markets.