In the May/June 2010 issue, Robert Simonson explores Brooklyn’s burgeoning beer, cocktail and coffee scene, but not to be overlooked is the borough’s growing collection of wine bars and bottle shops. From a former mini-mart to a cozy townhouse, here are a few of Brooklyn’s best wine bets.
Black Mountain Wine House
Like getting cozy at a friend’s house with a glass of wine and good meal (if that friend happened to have a great palate and live in a Boreum Hill townhouse), the Black Mountain Wine House beckons you to settle in for the night. Their wine list focuses mainly on natural producers throughout the old and new worlds, and menu items range from gourmet mac and cheese to classic fondue.
Coordinates: 415 Union St.; 718-522-4340; blackmountainwinehouse.com
Brooklyn Wine Exchange
Owner Patrick Watson—the visionary behind the JakeWalk bar, Smith & Vine and Stinky Bklyn—opened this small-winery focused bottle shop in Cobble Hill last December. Weekly tastings and education classes in a room at the back of the shop cover everything from varietal basics to master classes in biodynamic and organic farming.
Coordinates: 138 Court St.; 718-855-9463; brooklynwineexchange.com
Snag a table at the long wooden bar and peruse the glass-pour list, which features a rotating selection of at least 25 different wines. Snacks include specialty cheeses, house-cured salumis and homemade sausages and pickles.
Coordinates: 381 7th Ave.; 718-768-9463; brookvin.com
Smith & Vine
Coordinates: 268 Smith St.; 718-243-2864; smithandvine.com
If you love whisk(e)y as much as you do wine, then consider this Carroll Gardens store your one-stop shop for all of your imbibing needs. The back wall boasts a selection of more than 70 Scotch whiskies, while a center table offers a wide selection of wines priced under $12 a bottle. In-store tastings often include food pairings from local vendors, and most wine purchases are 10 percent off after 6 p.m. on Mondays. smithandvine.com
D.O.C. Wine Bar
Specializing in all-things Italian, this rustic Williamsburg wine bar is likely the only spot in town where you’ll find Sardinian gems like the rich and juicy Cannonau and Carignano del Sulcis.
Coordinates: 83 N. 7th St.; 718-963-1925; docwinebar.com
The Greene Grape
Quaint and cozy, this Fort Greene wine shop stocks a good number of wines from around the world as well as an abbreviated, but well-considered selection of artisanal spirits. Make it a meal and head to their provisions shop a few doors down, which hosts an in-house butcher, fishmonger and full cheese counter.
Coordinates: 765 Fulton St.; 718-797-9463; brooklyn.greengrape.com
Prospect Wine Shop (Park Slope)
Dedicated to mostly organic and biodynamic wines, this former mini-mart holds Saturday afternoon tastings on their garden-esque back patio and offers a selection of more than 50 different sakés.
Coordinates: 322 7th Ave.; 718-768-1232; propectwine.com
Red White and Bubbly
This Park Slope bottle shop hosts one of the borough’s biggest selections of small-estate wines, many of them from the Empire State, itself. Weekly wine tastings, knowledgeable staff and reasonable prices are an added bonus.
Coordinates: 211 5th Ave.; 718-636-9463; redwhiteandbubbly.com
Opened in 2000 by a former elementary school teacher and a Wall St. exec, this 900-square-foot shop has amassed a selection of more than 900 bottles of mostly natural and organic wine as well as a thoughtful selection of small-production, handcrafted spirits. Be sure to say hi to Greta, the good-natured shepherd/husky mix who’s always there to keep shoppers company as they browse.
Coordinates: 436 7th Ave.; 718-369-7307; slopecellars.com
Read about Brooklyn’s burgeoning cocktail, beer and coffee scenes in the May/June 2010 issue.