Grab a rainbow flag, slip on your shades and celebrate the L.G.B.T.Q. community throughout the month of June. Though now viewed with revelry, pride parades began in 1970 as four individual protests in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Whether you visit these cities for the marches or a weekend of diversity, unity, love and dancing, you’ll need to know the best places to break for a glass of wine.
New York City
On June 30, revelers from around the world will take to the streets of Manhattan’s historic Greenwich Village and Chelsea neighborhoods for the New York City Pride March. While the 1970 march saw a few thousand activists, the city now boasts the largest such event in the world. This year’s festivities include World Pride 2019 and a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. The latter was a seminal moment for gay rights, police raided the Stonewall Inn, near Sheridan Square Park, on June 28, 1969, setting off three days of unrest and launching the gay rights movement. Stonewall Inn still serves as a place of pilgrimage for visitors paying homage to the pioneering activists.
On Christopher Street, just a stone’s throw from Stonewall, Lamano serves classic tapas alongside Spanish tipples. Start with pan con tomate and jamón serrano paired with a chilled glass of Manzanilla Sherry. If you’re “brunching,” try the Bloody Sherry, a Spanish twist on a Bloody Mary which uses fresh tomatoes, spices, beets and amontillado.
One of the West Village’s best wine bars for nearly a decade, Anfora draws crowds with its thoughtful list and dimly lit interior. Selections span unique grapes, styles and underappreciated regions, with recent ones including a Rkatsitelli from Georgia or Grüner Veltliner from the Czech Republic.
Partners in both life and business, Jody Williams and Rita Sodi opened Bar Pisellino as a complement to their trio of restaurants, Buvette, I Sodi and Via Carota. Right off Christopher Park, the vibe is classic Old-World Italy, reminiscent of Venice or Florence. Enjoy wine, cocktails and Aperol spritz on tap as you dine alfresco on the sidewalk.
Upholstery Store: Food & Wine
Often overlooked on Washington Street, this West Village wine bar located a block from the scenic Hudson River Park offers a respite from crowds and parade-related mayhem. Austrian wines and a seafood-heavy menu come courtesy of partners Kurt Gutenbrunner and Leo Schneemann. Order a glass of Grüner, a dozen oysters and grab a seat on the couch.
Air’s Champagne Parlor
Nothing says celebration like Champagne. At Air’s, in the thick of Greenwich Village on MacDougal Street, opt for a bottle. The bar attracts both wine neophytes and connoisseurs for its extensive, rotating list of bubbles and modern-glam décor replete with crushed green velvet, brass and marble.
Los Angeles hosts one of Pride Month’s first gatherings on June 9. The parade runs through the vibrant West Hollywood neighborhood, along Santa Monica Boulevard. Rallying around #JUSTUNITE, the parade’s Christopher Street West organizers also work to provide low-income housing for people with HIV/AIDS.
V Wine Room
Mikey Consbruck opened V Wine Room to give smaller brands and producers the chance to connect with patrons. Tasting flights, by-the-glass pours and a bottle list present numerous options, depending on your thirst. It’s also a beautiful space that’s akin to a library for wine.
Francophiles will find plenty to celebrate at this wine bar. Snag a seat on the outdoor patio, order a round of small plates and explore the sizeable by-the-glass list. Though the restaurant’s theme is French, you’re still in California. Selections encompass French classics like Champagne to New-World selections like Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.
Severance Wine Bar
With a mission statement that declares “Champagne punch, cheese and dessert fondue” as specialties of the house, expect a commensurate wine list with some esoteric, global picks. Expect bottles like Hunter Valley Sémillon, German Pinot Noir and wines from other underrated regions like Corsica and Lebanon. A post-parade punch bowl, like the Executive Breakdown which features Champagne Jacquart, is the way to go.
Still going strong since opening in 2002, A.O.C. has gone eco-friendly with a variety of sustainable, organic and biodynamic labels. California’s sun-driven bounty inspires 2016 James Beard Chef of the Year Award-winner Suzanne Goin’s menu options. A bit off the parade route, dinner here will fuel an energetic return for the evening action.
Night + Market WeHo
After a long day in the sun, order a bottle and tuck into restorative Thai food at Night + Market. The owners, Kris and Sarah Yenbamroong, describe themselves as wine lovers whose wide-ranging tastes are evidenced in a list that ranges from California pétillant naturels and skin-contact whites to chillable reds. Night Market is as much a devotion to wine as it is to gin len (snacks), larb (minced meat salad) and khao soi (curry-noodles).
Chi-town’s Pride Parade is scheduled for June 30, which caps a month’s worth of activities. Chicago’s 1970 parade, which happened after a week of festivities and a day before the New York City march, saw about 150 people march from Washington Square Park to the Civic Center. For this year’s parade, more than one million people will be in attendance as it goes through the Boystown neighborhood. Festivities start at noon at Montrose Avenue and Broadway in Uptown.
Figo Wine Bar
Just beyond Boystown, this relaxed Lakeview spot covers the building blocks of Italian food and wine. A large industrial glass-paned wall streams sunlight, perfect to take in the brick-tinted hues of Barolos and Chiantis. Steaming bowls of housemade pastas flow from the kitchen, along with arancini, meatballs and fried calamari.
404 Wine Bar
Also in Lakeview, 404 Wine Bar offers a slew of weekday specials, from flights to half-priced bottles and glasses. Cheese, charcuterie, flatbreads and small plates provide something to snack on while you decide between a glass of Duval-Leroy brut Champagne or a bottle.
In East Lakeview, Bar Pastoral, a wine bar/cheese shop, celebrates good crusty bread, rich cheeses and European wines to wash them both down. Of course, salumi, pork rillettes and pâtés all make appearances, next to slabs of Gouda and Cheddar, naturally.
Roostock Wine & Beer Bar
Take a break from the revelry and head to this enclave in the Humboldt Park neighborhood. Careful thought was given to by-the-glass pours, where the classic steakhouse Cabs prevalent across the city are supplanted by Loire Valley Cab Franc and Nebbiolo from Roero. Dinner, served until 1 am, is seasonally driven, with dishes like spring risotto alongside white asparagus.
The San Francisco parade, scheduled for June 30, runs along Market Street, from the Embarcadero to the Civic Center. San Francisco Pride, which officially began in 1972 though activists did march down Polk Street two years earlier, is one of the world’s largest L.G.B.T.Q. parades, with annual crowds of more than a million spectators and 50,000 marchers.
A half-block from Market Street, Press Club’s underground digs offers a stylish breather from the frenetic city streets. The wine list demonstrates support for California winemakers and sports a lengthy selection of by-the-glass options, good if you seek a quick sip. Spend a bit of time and discover interesting Old World gems.
The Barrel Room
Down toward the Embarcadero, this cozy spot on Sansome Street takes a global view that spans from the food to wine. The bottle list touches almost every European country, though it occasionally features a specific angle. The most recent exploration: Wine and Cuisine of the Alps, inclusive of Switzerland, France, northern Italy and Slovenia.
Blanc et Rouge
A wine bar/shop, Blanc et Rouge is a great spot to pick up a bottle for later, or for immediate fortification. The latter is best served by a glass of Sangiovese, a platter of charcuterie and an arugula-covered flatbread. California, France, Spain and Italy dominate selections. The casual space means any outfit will do, however festive or glittery.
Grab a seat outside to enjoy a summer day at this café. A tightly edited list makes by-the-glass selections easy. Looking for a Light, Bright and Fresh red? You’ve got three choices. Rustic & Dry? Full & Rich? There’s a few options in those categories, too. Casual simplicity rules here.