There’s perhaps no better nod to universal celebration than toast. There are plenty of great bottles to pop open at home (check out our buyer’s guide), but if you feel like heading out for your next glass of bubbly, here are some of our favorite fizz-centric spots around the country.
A.O.C. – Los Angeles
Sommelier Caroline Styne opened A.O.C. with Suzanne Goin over a decade ago, and she has consistently presented one of the best wine lists in the country ever since. The list is large, but it’s impossible to go wrong. Styne’s sparkling selections are especially impressive, focusing on sustainable, small-production, often biodynamic wines from off-the-radar, forward-thinking producers.
Ambonnay – Portland, OR
Tucked away in a former warehouse in Portland’s buzzing southeast industrial district is sommelier David Speer’s homage to his favorite tipple: Champagne. With six rotating glasses and a daily special, as well as an excellent grower Champagne-heavy bottle list, there are no wrong turns here.
Birds & Bubbles — New York City
Thanks to Birds & Bubbles, southern food is a serious contender for best bubbly pairing. Specifically, buttermilk fried chicken. Buckets of bird aside, the bubbles list at this cozy LES wine bar-resto offers more than three dozen offerings neatly organized by flavor profile and growing region.
Cork — Washington, D.C.
Small-production sparkling wines from France, Italy and Spain are all poured by the glass at this darling Logan Circle wine bar. Exposed brick helps set the mood, while small plates like avocado toast, Spanish mackerel and parsley-dusted fries provide enough sustenance to keep the bubbles flowing all night long.
Corkbuzz – New York City
Master Sommelier Laura Maniec’s two NYC wine bars are havens for Champagne obsessives. Maniec herself is a champion of Champagne, constantly encouraging patrons to think of it as a daily, rather than occasional, treat. She’s so devoted to it, in fact, that she has begun a “Champagne Campaign,” offering 50% off all bottles of Champagne from 10 p.m. to close every night.
Frank’s Oyster House & Champagne Parlor – Seattle
An homage to the classic oyster bar, specifically those that speckle the Northeastern U.S., this cozy Seattle spot has been serving thirsty locals since 2008. Classic bubbles like Piper Heidsieck and Moet are offered by the glass alongside a nice list of cremants from Burgundy, Alsace and Limoux. For those in the mood for something with more of a punch, the cocktail menu has even more options.
Kazimierz Wine Bar – Scottsdale, AZ
Kazimierz’s wine selection is perfectly described on the menu as their version of “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.” Focused on off-the-map bottles, such as a semi-sweet Sovetskoe, or “Soviet Champagne” from Belarus and a sparkling Gamay/Poulsard blend from the Jura, the list is challenging, exciting and encourages even the most timid to be adventurous. If the ride feels too wild, though, there’s no shortage of classic standbys, like Krug or vintage Philipponnat.
Pops for Champagne – Chicago
This beloved Chicago bar, established in 1982, has a cultivated, lived-in sort of graciousness that makes bar goers feel right at home. With more than 200 Champagnes and sparkling wines, their carefully chosen and constantly changing wine list features a wide array of options for tastes and budgets of all types.
RM Champagne Salon (pictured above) – Chicago
Named for the French farmers, or récoltants manipulants, who grow grapes and bottle their own bubbly, this cozy gem is hidden at the end of a small, cobblestoned alley in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. Tables tend to be filled with bite-sized nibbles, and the interior is oozing with charm.
Sigh – Sonoma, CA
An impressive glass list, featuring nearly two dozen Champagnes and sparkling wines available in 2- or 6-ounce pours sets Sigh apart. For just $6, patrons can taste the wonder that is true French Champagne, making it easy to live up to owner Jayme Powers’ belief that every day can truly be an occasion.
Sparkling – Middlebury, VT
Opened in May of 2012, this small-town Champagne bar caters especially to students and professors from nearby Middlebury College looking to unwind and toast the day. Owner and Francofile Nancy Weber-Curth favors small, grower-produced Champagnes of France, as well as a plethora of excellent sparklers from around the globe.