Food & Drink

The Best Wine Bars in LA

Tiffany Tse Published On 02/25/2016 Published On 02/25/2016
bartender pouring glass of red wine, colorado wine company
Colorado Wine Company

Wine bars in Los Angeles have largely flown under the radar (blame all the hype over craft coffee and cocktail mixology instead) -- meaning that, while we weren’t paying attention, a legit scene has cropped up. There’s a little something for everyone: classic wine bars where oenophiles deliberate over flavor profiles, casual spots where a novice might feel comfortable sampling several merlots, and restaurants that take their wines as seriously as their food. Ahead, a toast to LA’s best spots to sip, swirl, and sniff -- or just sip.

Courtesy of Local Kitchen and Wine Bar

Local Kitchen & Wine Bar

Santa Monica

This Ocean Park establishment is a newish neighborhood favorite -- due in no small part to owner Maire Byrne’s smartly tailored wine selection, which is based on the restaurant’s seasonal menu and emphasizes diversity as well as regional hits. If a liquid diet doesn’t quite suffice, their handcrafted Neapolitan-style pizza and delectable small bites like lamb meatballs await.

Courtesy of Bodega Wine Bar

Bodega Wine Bar

Santa Monica (& other locations)

If you like wine but barely know your chardonnay from your cab, Bodega’s your jam. The folks here could care less if you don’t sniff the syrah -- they just want you to drink their damn wine, which is delicious, covers all the major varietals, and is served by the glass for $12 or under.

Pour Haus Wine Bar

Arts District

Some wine bars neglect the edibles, but not this hidden Arts District gem with a worldly wine portfolio. Plan to stay here a while -- they’ve got complimentary truffle popcorn, a substantial menu of Greek nachos and oxtail tacos, and crowd-pleasing games like Jenga, Connect Four, and Balderdash.

Courtesy of Colorado Wine Co.

Colorado Wine Company

Eagle Rock

Walk into Colorado Wine at any given time and you might hear a Patti Smith or Thelonious Monk record in the background as bartenders pour California reds, Oregon pinots, or more obscure blends. The average bottle at this laid-back spot sets you back only $20, proving you don’t need to break the bank to enjoy good vino.

Covell

Los Feliz

At Covell, there’s no printed menu. Instead, you discuss your preferences for full-bodied, earthy reds with the friendly barkeeps and sample a number of their 150-plus options until you find a favorite (or several). It works: Covell’s one of LA’s most exceptional wine bars and comes with zero condescension.

Emily Hart Roth

Esters Wine Shop

Santa Monica

This intimate wine shop, bar, and market is as charming as the landmark Art Deco building where it’s housed. Co-owner Kathryn Coker (who also oversees next-door restaurant Cassia’s lauded wine program) has curated about 200 selections that include heavy-hitting Burgundies as well as boutique biodynamic wines from Santa Barbara and Sicily.

Courtesy of Augustine Wine Bar

Augustine Wine Bar

Sherman Oaks

Brought to you by the team behind Covell, one-year-old Augustine has seriously boosted the Valley’s street cred. The stylish space serves up a rotating list of 60 international wines, as well as some incredibly rare and vintage wines -- their oldest sweet wine is an ancient 1860 ABS Boal Madeira.

Andre Vippolis

Silverlake Wine

Silver Lake

Owned by the folks behind the Arts District’s Everson Royce, Silver Lake Wine boasts a knowledgeable staff, an impressive and organized wine selection, and popular Thursday Night Flights where for $15, you get bread, butter, and three generous pours of red or white with which to wash it all down.

Courtesy of Sonoma Wine Garden

Sonoma Wine Garden

Santa Monica

Nothing beats an afternoon spent on Sonoma’s sun-drenched patio, sipping a crisp pinot and people-watching as bronzed, flip-flop-wearing Westsiders enjoy leisurely brunches. If their Californian and international wines please your palate, sign up for their wine club membership, which includes admission to tastings and other perks.

Mignon

Downtown

By day, Mignon masquerades as a pasta bar serving uni spaghetti to downtown nine-to-fivers. But by night, it’s a cozy French hideaway designed for wine and cheese aficionados, who come here as much for the small-production Old World wines as they do for mouthwatering artisanal cheeses, like soft-ripened Spanish Caña de Cabra and triple-cream Brillat Savarin.

Courtesy of Vintage Enoteca

Vintage Enoteca

Hollywood

This intimate spot offers a rotating list that features off-the-beaten-path regions and indie winemakers. They also host innovative pairing events, like a recent Sriracha and wine dinner that included Sriracha BBQ pork mac 'n’ cheese accompanied by a 2013 Austrian Blaufränkisch.

Courtesy of A.O.C.

AOC

Beverly Grove

It’s not quite a wine bar since there’s a full restaurant attached, but AOC’s wine program was designed hand in hand with their small-plates-focused menu -- so both are robust, thoughtful, and flavorful. You’ll find everything from Napa Valley-sourced reds to sparkling Italian Lambrusco and Argentinian rosé, as well as an appealing date-appropriate vibe.

Zinque

West Hollywood

This French wine bar has outposts in WeHo and Venice, both of which pack on the romance and charm with outdoor patios, string lights, and lots of wine. You’ll find a full menu of flatbreads, tartines, and quiche to go along with the libations -- making it the perfect spot for al fresco drinks and dining.

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Tiffany Tse is a contributor at Thrillist and still drinks her wine at home out of a coffee mug. Follow her adventures around town at @twinksy

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1. Local Kitchen and Wine Bar 1736 Ocean Park Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405 (Santa Monica)

Sure, there are plenty of great wine bars in Los Angeles, but none of them compare to Local Kitchen. Here you can enjoy an extensive wine collection and seasonal restaurant menu, as well as an inviting atmosphere. Local Kitchen is one of the best wine bars in Santa Monica, and should be on the top of your bar bucket list.

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2. Bodega Wine Bar 814 Broadway, Santa Monica (& other locations), CA 90401 (Santa Monica)

Located in Santa Monica, Bodega prides itself on being unpretentious about wine. A go-to date spot, the wine bar is intimate and perfect for quiet conversation over good vino and small plates. It also has an awesome late night Happy Hour starting at 10 pm.

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3. Pour Haus Wine Bar 1850 Industrial St, Los Angeles, CA 90021 (Downtown)

Pour Haus Wine Bar is a favorite hangout for Arts District locals, thanks to their extensive wine selection and board game collection. Not to mention, it offers complimentary popcorn and elevated small plates, such as papitas bravas and stuffed mushrooms. If you're looking for something a little heartier, go for the sloppy sliders or the oxtail tacos. Last but most definitely not least: the desserts. S'mores, crepes, and gluten-free pancakes topped with a hazelnut-chocolate spread, whipped cream, maple syrup, strawberries, and bananas. What are you waiting for?

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4. Colorado Wine Company 2305 Colorado Blvd, Eagle Rock, CA 90041 (Eagle Rock)

If you are looking for unique wines to try, look no further than the Colorado Wine Company, an exceptional wine bar in Eagle Rock. The prices here are respectable, the wines are varied, and this bar is widely considered one of the best in Los Angeles for wine lovers.

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5. Covell 4628 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027 (Los Feliz)

This cozy Los Feliz wine bar (from dudes from Stella and Silverlake Wine) features an interior uniquely decorated w/ vintage cameras and pages ripped from an antique encyclopedia, as well as 20 rotating wine options and eight unusual draught beers.

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6. Esters Wine Shop & Bar 1314 7th St, Santa Monica, CA 90401 (Santa Monica)

Esters Wine Shop & Bar is the perfect place for all of Santa Monica's wine lovers. The inside looks like something out of an Art-Deco dream, and the walls are lined with a wine variety of wines to enjoy. With over 200 wines to choose from, you'll need help from Esters' friendly wait staff in deciding which to choose.

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7. Augustine Wine Bar 13456 Ventura Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 91423

The Valley's wine bar game is TOTALLY upped with this marble-bar-topped vino paradise. The spot has 75 by-the-glass options (including selections from the 1800s!!!) and food like charcuterie and braised octopus.

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8. Silver Lake Wine 2395 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039 (Silverlake)

Silver Lake wine lovers are huge fans of this local wine bar. Here you'll find a knowledgable staff, extensive wine collection, and great happy hour deals. Check their website for an updated happy hour schedule. After visiting, it will be hard to visit any other wine bar without comparing it to Silver Lake.

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9. Sonoma Wine Garden 395 Santa Monica Pl, Santa Monica, CA 90401 (Santa Monica)

This mediterranean bistro offers patio seating with views of the ocean and a curated wine list to choose from while enjoying the view. The $35 bottomless brunch on weekends includes an entree with unlimited mimosas, bellinis and truffle-foamed Bloody Marys.

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10. Mignon Wine And Cheese Bar 128 E 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014 (Downtown)

Downtown LA mini-bistro (22-only seat bar) Mignon's serving up a small menu of rustic French fare, including Blanquette de Cochon ("pig stew") and Coq au Vin ("cock of the wine"...?). Bring a first date here for a cozy night of wine, cheese, and great conversation.

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11. Vintage Enoteca 7554 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046 (Hollywood)

Laid back but never boring, Vintage Enoteca will tempt you with their tapas from Executive Chef Jo Gutierrez's menu of seasonal Italian small bites. The 36-seat, casual Italian-inspired eatery and wine bar features distressed metal tables, Edison bulbs, B&W photography from a local artist, and themed nights such as Grilled Cheese Mondays and Sangria Madness. (Where do we sign up?)

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12. AOC 8700 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048 (Mid Wilshire)

Mid-Wilshire's A.O.C. is an intimately styled wine bar, with one of the city’s greatest patios, serving world-class Mediterranean small plates and a solid wine list. With wines from all over the world and a cozy and romantic atmosphere, A.O.C. is a great place to bring a first date that you are really looking to impress.

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13. Zinque 8684 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90069 (West Hollywood)

This French wine bar is by far one of the best in Los Angeles, complete with an outdoor patio, a delicious small plates menu, and an extensive wine list. No matter who you bring here, you are sure to have a great time, though we suggest taking a first date here to really impress them.

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