Our new monthly series about the best wine bars around the U.S. kicks off in the political heart of the country, Washington D.C. Check out the winners in each category below, then get out there, D.C.!
Best Wine Bar for Novices: Vinoteca Wine Bar and Bistro
On Tuesday nights, Vinoteca holds themed wine classes for those new to wine and those looking to learn more about a particular region. Recent themes include, “The Truth about Beaujolais” and “Wines for the Holidays.” Their wine list consists of affordable wines from around the world, many of which are offered by the glass, and happy hour is from 5-7pm every day, so you can explore the world of wine one $5 glass at a time.
Most Romantic: Bistrot Lepic
Quaint and unassuming on the outside, this neighborhood bistro is cozy and romantic on the inside. No one does romance better than the French, and this French-inspired bistro delivers romance to all the senses, from warm lighting to small, intimate tables to the delicate French menu. The all-French wine list includes bottles from $29 to $1,600, so you’re covered for every budget. Live Jazz music on Monday and Wednesday nights completes the seduction.
Best Bang for Your Buck: Veritas Wine Bar
You can find a deal every day of the week at Veritas. Each week staff picks are half off, and select bottles are also half off if you come in on Sundays and Mondays. Happy hour is Tuesday-Friday, which includes $25 bottles of wine, and the wines are already reasonably priced, most between $8-12 per glass. The wine list is heavy on the Old World, with some U.S. West Coast sprinkled in as well, so anybody should be able to find a few favorites.
Most Eclectic Selection: Mockingbird Hill
One of the newest and most eclectic bars in D.C., Mockingbird Hill is the city's first and only Sherry and ham bar. Derek Brown, owner of trendy bars the Columbia Room and the Passenger, opened this ditty in June along with his wife, Chantal Tseng, who is a true Sherry aficionado. Over 50 different Sherries are on the list, and each glass is served with free snacks, or tapas, in the Spanish style. Spain has also inspired the bar’s focus on cured hams, which you can order for as little as $5 per serving. If you don’t know much about Sherry, attend their Tuesday night classes about the intriguing beverage, and you’ll soon be as hooked as the rest of us.
Best Neighborhood Wine Bar: Cork Wine Bar
Cork was opened by two locals who wanted to create a comfortable place for neighborhood folk to get a drink after work. Casual elegance is the theme, so if you’re coming from work in a suit or stopping by on a Saturday afternoon in jeans, you’ll feel at home. The ambiance is intimate, and it’s one of the quieter wine bars in the city, where you can actually hear what your friends have to say. The wine list is Old World-focused, with an interesting selection from Spain, France and Italy. Tasty bites are available to nibble.