The 12 Best Wine Bars for Singles
Unattached this Valentine’s Day? Mingle with fellow singles at one of these convivial wine bars. They offer exceptional vino lists, cool specials for singles, or simply won’t make you feel awkward. Plus, sommeliers weigh in on some Do’s and Don’ts when ordering wine on a date.
Valentine’s Day just got sunnier for singles. This intimate SoCal Italian wine bar offers an all-night happy hour with $6 small plates and specialty cocktails. Our pick is the refreshing “Love Me Tinder,” made with house-infused spicy vodka, lime and grapefruit juices. There’s also a 90-minute open bar option for $20, offering unlimited house wines, sangria and beer. Bacari’s concise wine list is updated on the bar’s chalkboard walls almost daily. The owners typically order a single case each of red, white, sparkling and sweet wines until they run out, so there are always new options to try (just like online dating!).
Regardless of their relationship status, wine lovers flock to this bottle-stocked bar housed in a 19th-century warehouse. Under proprietor and advanced sommelier Brad Ball, Social claims Charleston’s largest selection of wines by the glass with 50 options, while some 4,000 bottles stock the cellar. The bar’s friendly staff is happy to create playful wine pairings with eclectic dishes like wood-roasted mussels or jasmine rice balls in red curry sauce.
A casual atmosphere (read: sports on TV screens) attracts wine aficionados to this Atlanta wine bar to mix and mingle. Run by Ian Mendelsohn, formerly of Windows on the World in New York City and the Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, you can expect expert selections off the 26 by-the-glass list, including four wines on tap. To celebrate Valentine’s Day (and the bar’s first anniversary), it will offer conversation-provoking specials like wine sabering and large-format bottles.
With an eclectic array of patio furniture accommodating groups or singles, this indoor/outdoor wine bar is one of New Orleans’s best secrets. Buy a bottle (or two) from the bar’s connected wine shop that specializes in Old World selections from small producers, grab a few glasses and score a seat under the heat lamps. Live music draws crowds of all stripes daily, encouraging sharing wine and dancing with strangers.
Drinking alone actually feels fun at this airport bar chain, a haven for wine lovers who may be traveling on Valentine’s Day. In addition to worldly wines mapped on a convenient tasting graph, many locations also include a boutique wine shop, so bottles can be purchased to go. It might just help you impress fellow travelers on the plane. (Most locations are past the TSA checkpoint, so passengers are allowed to take wine purchases onboard).
Located in hip Georgetown, this has become a D.C. nightlife destination. Enjoy people-watching in the modern atrium overlooking the space, along with wine-friendly, locally sourced charcuterie and chocolate from Virginia and Pennsylvania. An extensive list offers 47 by-the-glass selections, along with a flight of three 2.5-ounce glasses, if the mood to taste and debate strikes.
Chicago’s iteration of the laid-back wine bar chainlet offers a good time for singles, with ample bar seating, a per-person prix-fixe menu special and a two-glass commitment to open any bottle on the list (along with 30 selections by the glass). “We also have a jukebox full of energetic rock that helps build a fun and social environment for groups or singles,” says Kate Bocson, general manager.
Single life in New York City is notoriously hard, but going out on Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be painful. Grab a chair at the 14-seat, marble-topped bar at Eli’s Table on the Upper East Side. Pulling from an Old World-focused wine cellar of more than 16,000 bottles, wine lovers can enjoy some 30 sips by the glass and snacks like fresh oysters and fish tacos in a laid-back atmosphere.
No reservations are required, so singles can snag a spot at the bar and treat themselves to a special Valentine’s Day menu crafted by owner Julia Battaglini and chef John Ledbetter. There’s also 40 small-production European wines to enjoy, as well as the bar’s shareable antipasti and small plates.
Located inside Brennan’s restaurant, a colorful mural of an exotic bird cage beckons to those flying solo this Valentine’s Day. A glamorous wine-focused bar, it’s quickly becoming the best perch in New Orleans to see and be seen. The design-your-own-Sazerac program invites conversation with seatmates, while 1,100 wine selections (13 by the glass) focuses on offerings from Champagne, Burgundy, Bordeaux and California.
There’s no menu at this cozy, candlelit Los Feliz hotspot, so patrons are practically forced to discuss the staggering 150 rotating by-the-glass options with neighbors. Here, servers let you know what’s available that night, engaging solo drinkers (and connecting singles) where wine preferences intersect. Bar bites like cheese and charcuterie plates seem designed to share, if you’re feeling particularly friendly.
“When you have a wine list with as many exotic and wonderful offerings by the glass as we do, there’s always plenty to talk about,” says Chris Horn, wine director. His award-winning list won a Wine Enthusiast Best 100 Wine Restaurants Award in 2013, and it features more than 650 wines from nearly 300 appellations.
“Also, the shape of our bar doesn't hurt,” Horn says. Its half-circle configuration might increase your chances of chatting up a cute wine lover on either side.
You won’t always be single. Here are some wine dating Do’s and Don’ts
“To impress your date, DO call the sommelier ahead of time and order a bottle in advance so it is waiting at the table,” says Dane Tuzzio, sommelier, BLT Steak, New York City.
“If you’re pouring, DO a small pour each time, keeping the glass no more than three ounces full,” says Anani Lawson, sommelier, Lucy Restaurant & Bar, Yountville, CA.
“DO order Champagne or sparkling wine to start,” says A.J. Ojeda-Pons, wine director/sommelier, The Lambs Club, New York City. “And don’t feel wimpy if you order a sparkling rosé. It’s not just for the ladies.”
“When reviewing the wine list, DO select a few backup wines, in case your selection is unavailable,” says Tuzzio.
“DO your homework. Look up the wine list on the restaurant’s Web site and explore your options, or you’ll spend a good 10 minutes flipping back and forth between the pages of the list in front of your date,” says Ojeda-Pons.
“DON’T get caught up in the minutia or ‘esoterica’ of any wine. You can take a wine class together or a wine-tasting session later,” says Lawson.
“DON’T pour for your date if the sommelier is around and doing his or her job,” says Lawson.
“DON’T ask for a bottle of wine to be decanted just to be decanted. Decanters do not make the wine taste more expensive,” says Ojeda-Pons.
“DON’T feel rushed. Enjoy your date and your wine, but be careful not to indulge too much,” says Ojeda-Pons. “There is nothing worse than an inebriated date to spoil the mood.”
“DON’T stop your date from ordering what he or she would rather drink, but ask him or her to have a sip of your wine, and vice versa,” says Lawson.