I’m a recovering wine snob. Years ago, I only drank high-end bottles with other wine snob friends. We would eat cheese while sipping, sniffing and discussing wines. Then I moved to Italy, where delicious wines cost as little as $5.
And then it hit me.
It’s not about this varietal or that vintage, or even what pairs best with what. It’s simpler than that. Much like any alcoholic beverage of choice, you drink it because you like it. And the reason you drink is to celebrate friends, family, careers or life events.
Here are some top-notch spots to sit and sip a glass of wine in Austin with your closest friends, family or colleagues. They aren’t necessarily the most high-end in town, but they’ve got soul.
Apothecary Cafe & Wine Bar
This quaint spot on Burnet Road is a favorite of mine for low-key outings. While Apothecary’s wine list is small, this cafe and wine bar is constantly rotating the wines on the menu to match its seasonal food offerings. There is always something new for your mouth to experience.
Looking for a deal? Swing by on Saturday for an all-day special offering of 50 percent off all bottles of bubbles!
4800 Burnet Road – Website
Have you dreamed of traveling the world tasting wines? Not only is Departure Lounge an innovative travel agency that could turn your dream into a reality, but they can also recreate your wine-filled dreams right here in Austin. The lounge transports you to another world while you enjoy international wines and snacks. The staff can help you not only discover a new wine, but plan a trip to take you to the source. What could be better than that?
If you’re wary of a hard sell, don’t be. You can sit and sip all afternoon with friends or your laptop without being bothered, if you prefer.
311 West 5th St., Suite 102 – Website
While most wine bars and restaurants offer only a select number of wines by the glass, House Wine offers 100 different wines by the glass, making it the perfect spot to meet a large group of friends with very different palates. House Wine even holds weekly wine tastings for those wanting to learn more about their favorite type. There are daily specials, but if you’re looking for something a little more unique, sign up for a membership in the Wine Geeks Club!
408 Josephine St. – Website
The Grove Wine Bar & Kitchen
The Grove Wine Bar & Kitchen has been making Austin wine history for almost ten years. The original location in West Lake gives guests a picturesque backdrop while they enjoy their wine. The second downtown location offers reprieve from the West Sixth Street chaos. The Grove offers the most diverse options when it comes to wining and dining, with something for everyone. If there are too many options to choose from, you can pick from the many curated wine flights.
6317 Bee Cave Road #380 and 800 West Sixth Street #100 – Website
Opa! Coffee & Wine Bar
While you won’t have any plates smashed over your head, Opa! Coffee & Wine Bar is perfectly Austin. It’s funky with a lot to offer–from live music and coffee to relaxing moments under the majestic oak trees. The wine list is small, but has a good variety to choose from. No matter when you go you’ll find tasty treats to pair with your drinks. But for an extra special “Funday” head over on Sunday to enjoy all-day happy hour.
2025 South Lamar Blvd. – Website
The Red Room Lounge
The Red Room Lounge reminds me of my wine snob days, but there’s something extra sexy about this spot. The low lighting, modern art and collector guitars adorning the walls add to the ambiance. Wine aficionados will be pleased by the amazing wine selection of over 250 bottles. But what really makes The Red Room Lounge stand apart is their wine storage options for collectors. They understand your wine collection is an investment and can help keep it safe.
306A East 3rd St. – Website
When Winebelly opened in late 2013, it was an immediate hit, especially with South Austin wine lovers. This spot offers tasty tapas alongside a list of international wines. The decor is inviting, but I prefer to sit outside on the covered patio. Looking for the best deals? Head over on Sunday or Monday for half off select bottles.
519 W. Oltorf St. –Website
This wine bar and restaurant in Hyde Park is exactly what you’d expect from a traditional wine bar. Vino Vino has an extensive wine selection and the dinner menu includes dishes such as escargot, quail and goat cheese cheesecake. It’s perfect for date night or a night out with esteemed colleagues. Be sure to take your time to enjoy every bite and every drop of wine at Vino Vino. It’s worth it.
4119 Guadalupe St. – Website
@jpino9 wants to know:
What’s your favorite wine varietal of wine?
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