Food & Drink

The Best Wine Bars in MSP

Published On 02/22/2016 Published On 02/22/2016
wine bottles and glasses of red and white wine
Dan Gentile/Thrillist

As wonderful as the craft beer scene is in MSP right now, we can’t forget about the classics. For the purposes of this article, we’re talking about wine. And wouldn’t you believe it, we’ve actually got a pretty decent number of wine bars here in the Twin Cities. Sometimes these places tend to get overlooked in light of the local beer and locally distilled craft cocktail boom, but let’s not forget, wine is also a booze worth celebrating.

Toast Wine Bar

Toast Wine Bar

Northloop

This is a great little casual spot in one of the Twin Cities’ quickest developing hot spots. It also happens to be one of the first businesses to take to the neighborhood, pouring glass after glass since 2006. Specializing in wines produced by small family vineyards that focus on sustainable, organic, or biodynamic farming practices, their list is extensive with the average bottle costing $30-$50.

Cave Vin

Southwest

All too often this little French bistro gets overlooked, but not today, friends. Today, we celebrate their nicely curated wine list, one that offers a moderate selection of by the glass and full bottle options with most being fairly priced. If you choose to drink by the glass, Cave Vin offers a $5 half glass option which allows you to try an array of varietals.

Terzo

Terzo

Southwest

One of our favorite Italian spots also happens to be one of the best wine bars in town. Focusing on independent, traditional, and historical Italian vintages, Terzo’s cellar holds over 1,000 bottles of 300 different selections. The wine list updates often, allowing you to become well-versed in the Italian way of wine, and they offer many by-the-glass options for just $10-$15. They also have some great food that screams to be paired with a decent glass of vino.

Finnish Bistro

The Finnish Bistro

Como

To be frank, we love a place that has a small, nicely curated, and extremely accessible wine list, and this place has all of that. The bottles tend to run below $40 and the glasses under $10. They also offer live music, so it’s nice to pop in for an evening, grab a glass, and take in a bit of local culture.

Sunfish Cellars

The Lab at Sunfish Cellars

Lillydale

Part liquor store, part wine bar, this is a great spot to hit even though it’s technically just outside city limits. The wine bar portion offers a variety of on tap options along with several different flights, which is always a great way to get the most bang for your buck when discovering new things. They also have a bunch of little bar snacks designed to go well with a glass... or two.

Keane Amdahl/Thrillist

Meritage

Downtown St. Paul

There’s nothing like hunkering down in the bar at this beloved St. Paul institution with a big glass of vino and a platter of oysters. Beyond the bubbly, however, they have a mighty wine list featuring varietals from around the globe with options ranging from budget-friendly to blatant wallet busters. So whether you’re a complete amateur or an experienced aficionado, they’re likely going to have you covered.

Riverview Wine Bar

Riverview Wine Bar

Longfellow

This is a favorite little neighborhood spot that’s perfectly designed for unwinding with a glass. With over 100 different curated labels available from around the world, there’s a lot to try. Fortunately, they also do wine flights which allows the option to try out wines from different regions all while expanding your palate.

Lucia’s

Lucia’s Wine Bar

Uptown

There are few better places in the Twin Cities to pony up to the bar (or the patio, weather permitting) for a good ol’ glass of vino. This iconic Uptown restaurant has been pouring wine for 30 years, so they know a little bit about what they’re doing and will certainly be able to point you in a direction of something that you’re sure to love. They also offer a list of rotating discounted wines during their two daily happy hours, so you can always try something new on a budget.

Joan’s in the Park

Highland Park

Focusing largely on American wines, the list at Joan’s in the Park is delicious and has a little something for everybody. And given how affordable the wine is, it’s a little easier to choose a beverage when you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank.

GYST Fermentation Bar

GYST Fermentation Bar

Whittier

This place has been somewhat of an obsession for us since they opened their doors just a little over a year ago. With a focus on fermented foods -- their wide variety of cheeses, in particular -- GYST was designed for drinking wine. Their list is short but well-curated with most bottles landing in the $40-$60 price range. A handful of by-the-glass options are also available. If you need a little assistance, chat with the servers and they’ll gladly help you pick out a pairing to go with whatever meat and/or cheese plate you decide to order.

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Keane Amdahl is a veteran Twin Cities food writer that occasionally takes a break from eating in order to slug back a glass of wine. Follow his antics on Twitter @FoodStoned.

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1. Toast Wine Bar & Cafe 415 N 1st St, Minneapolis, MN 55401

There are plenty of reasons to love Toast Wine Bar & Cafe, from their love of selling wines from small family vineyards to their reasonable prices. This is a great place to take a date that you really want to impress without emptying out your wallet.

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2. Cavé Vin 5555 Xerxes Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55410 (Southwest)

One of the greatest things about this French bistro is their expertly curated wine list and it's reasonable prices. We think that Cave Vin is one of the best wine bars not only in Southwest, but in all of Minneapolis.

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3. Terzo 2221 W 50th St, Minneapolis, MN 55410 (Southwest)

Terzo Vino Bar is not only one of the best Italian restaurants in Minneapolis, but it’s also one of the best spots for a glass of wine in all of Minnesota. With a cellar holding over 1,000 bottles of 300 different selections, the wine list updates often, allowing you to become well-versed in the Italian way of wine. Plus, it’s reasonably priced (by-the-glass options for just $10-$15), which is perfect because Terzo’s also has some great food that screams to be paired with a decent glass of vino. Expertly prepared dishes include duck egg with sautéed king trumpet and beech mushrooms and a prosciutto-wrapped pork loin with fingerling potatoes and dandelion greens.

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4. Finnish Bistro 2264 Como Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55108 (Como Park)

The Finnish Bistro is one of the best hidden gems in Como Park. They wine list is expertly curated and appropriately priced, and it's outdoor seating allows for some fresh and nice scenery while eating some of their delicious food.

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5. Sunfish Cellars Wine & Spirits 803 Sibley Memorial Hwy, Saint Paul, MN 55118

Sunfish Cellars is part liquor store, part wine bar, and entirely fantastic. They have a great wine list and delicious bar food to match. If you want the best deal, make sure to ask about their flights of wine, which are the best way to get your money's worth.

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6. Meritage 410 Saint Peter St, St. Paul, MN 55102 (Downtown St Paul)

Meritage is a swanky French brasserie slinging lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, including eats like an outrageous French onion soup, oysters, and crepes. Their wine list is expertly curated, and perfect for anyone with any range of wine knowledge.

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7. Riverview Cafe & Wine Bar 3747 42nd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55406 (Longfellow)

The Riverview Wine Bar is a favorite little neighborhood spot in Longfellow, and from the minute you walk in you will realize why. With over 100 different wines to drink from all over the world, your best option would be to order a wine flight and try a few different labels at once.

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8. Lucia's Wine Bar 1432 W 31st St, Minneapolis, MN 55408 (Uptown)

Escape the mega-bustle of Henn-Lake's shopping for a Pimms Cup, Campari, or Rob Roy at the greatest place you didn't know existed: Lucia's, where the vino and booze selection is classic, and the happy hour deals are robust, both of which suggest that perhaps you did know it existed, but just forgot.

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9. Joan's in the Park 631 Snelling Ave S. , St. Paul, MN 55116 (Highland Park)

A pair of industry vets created this wine bar-ish nosheteria that aims to be a comfortable, "come-as-you-are kind of place” in Highland Park. Joan’s features a seasonal menu of expertly crafted dishes that utilize quality ingredients, all sourced as close to local as possible. With current offerings that include pork belly with braised winter onions, short rib meatballs with pickled cucumber, and a Carolina blue crab toast, it’s impossible to go wrong.

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10. GYST Fermentation Bar 25 E 26th St, Minneapolis, MN 55404 (Whittier)

For those of you that love all things fermented, cured, or foods that are otherwise preserved, this is the place for you! Think charcuterie boards, cheese plates, and sandwiches paired with a variety of delicious wines or craft beers.

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