This is a list of the best Italian wine bars in New York City. Each location offers a sommelier and, in true Italian fashion, delicious small bites reminiscent of the Milanese aperitivo.
Anfora is named after the clay vessels used to store wine in Ancient Greece, Rome and Georgia. Here, Executive Beverage Director Joe Campanale, Assistant Beverage Director Brett Elms and Senior Bartender Dave Foss aim to highlight producers who make wines that pay respect to the earth alongside an array of spirits, craft beers and anfora-aged wines such as Elisabetta Foradori’s 2010 “Fontanasanta,” Nosiola from Trentino and Guttarolo’s 2009 “Amphora,” Primitivofrom Puglia.
For the advanced wine drinker, Campanale suggests Northern Italian bottles particularly those from Alto Piemonte, Valle D’Aosta and Lombardy, which boast bright acidity and distinct terroir flavors.
Anfora’s menu features cheeses, salume and crostini as well as a selection of sandwiches such as The Italian, made with speck, soppressata, prosciutto, provolone and olive relish.
34 Eighth Avenue at Jane Street
Monday-Saturday 3:00pm to 2:00am
Sunday 3:00pm to 12:00am
Claudio Coronas and Rossana Patteri opened D.O.C. Wine Bar in spring 2002 bringing a taste of Sardinia, Coronas’ homeland, to Williamsburg.
D.O.C. wine bar features a rotating 170-bottle list, particularly the esoteric varietals, such as Sicily’s Catarratto and Nerello Mascalese, Sardinia’s Cannonau and Monica, Piedmont’s Pelaverga, Lombardy’s Chiavanasca and Veneto’s Corvina and Rondinella.
Enjoy one of the many delightful Sardinian-inspired bar snacks from chef Stefano Baldantoni’s menu such as Pane Carasau, a Sardinian flatbread with extra virgin olive oil sea salt and rosemary as well as toast with melted Sardinian sheep’s milk cheese.
83 North 7th Street
Saturday – Thursday: 6pm to 11pm
Friday: 6pm to 12am
Saturday & Sunday brunch: 11.30am to 4pm
Beatrice Tosti Di Balminuta and her husband Julio Pena opened Il Posto Accanto, a wine bar and restaurant, in 1999 on Manhattan’s Lower East Side with Beatrice’s brother Gabrio, who implemented an elaborate wine program that focuses strongly on lesser-known producers from all of Italy’s wine regions.
Guests request Chianti, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Merlot, but the Italian varieties that sell best are the Sardinian Cannonau and Vermentino, Sicilian Nero d’Avola, Pugliese Primitivo, Piedmontese Gavi made from the Cortese grape and the Campanian Falanghina.
Pair your wine with house-made tortellini stuffed with oxtail or grilled polenta with sautéed mushrooms and tomato sauce, two of the enticing small plates from Beatrice’s menu.
190 East 2nd St at Avenue B
Monday: 12pm to 3pm
Tuesdays –Friday: 12pm to 3am
Saturday & Sunday: 5.30pm – 3am (Brunch: 12pm to 3.30pm)
Keith Beavers, sole proprietor of In Vino, has worked at the wine bar since 2003. The location features a menu created specifically for pairing with the 200-label wine list.
“There are wines people may never have heard of like Zibibbo that I want to get them into,” said Beavers. “So I change the wine list often to keep it interesting and the wine geek in me stimulated.”
Executive chef James Kelly, formerly of Babbo, came on board during the summer of 2014, and his rustic seasonal menu complements Beavers evolving all-Italian wine list.
The menu has featured fresh Cavatelli tossed with an Italian duck sausage ragu and rapini that pairs perfectly with the 2009 Vigna Traverso Colli Orientali di Friuli DOC Schioppettino, a grape native to Friuli with nice acidity and notes of blackberry and pepper.
215 East 4th Street between Avenues A and B
Open Daily: 5pm to 11pm
In 2003, the revered Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group opened Otto, a pizzeria and enoteca on the ground floor of the prominent One Fifth Avenue building named for the corner on which it sits: Eighth Street.
The underlying idea for Otto’s décor was “to replicate a bar at a train station- to give quick and easy access to everyday foods and great wines. It also was our first conception of a pizzeria enoteca,” said owner Joe Bastianich.
Wine director Krista Voisin, who worked under Otto’s former wine director five years ago, returned in 2013 and oversees an 800-bottle wine list that changes at least weekly.
“At Otto there is a focus on unique small production wines through all regions of Italy,” explained Bastianich. “We are usually dealing with very limited quantities, so we get what we can get, and change things up when it’s gone.”
One Fifth Avenue at 8th Street
New York City, NY 10003
212 995 9559
Open daily: 11:30 – 12:00am