It’s safe to say that New Orleanians love their wine, mostly because a) we have entire Mardi Gras krewes like Cork & Bacchus dedicated to the stuff, and b) we're only human, dammit. Should you share the feeling and want to go where the local oenophiles go, these are the spots to hit...
The 10 Best Wine Bars in New Orleans
What started as a small wine shop with live music in a cozy Bywater courtyard has turned into what’s described as a “wine laboratory” with an expansive array of vino, fantastic food, and wonderful entertainment. It’s not quite as under the radar as it used to be (expect a sizable crowd on weekends, and when the weather is favorable), but it still has an outstanding wine selection, as well as friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you decide what’s best for sipping on the spot, and what you might want to take home and save.
With dozens of wines by the glass and nearly a hundred hand-selected bottles, Oak has a selection to please any wine lover. But what really makes things interesting is the fact that its varietals are grouped by palate, which is good, since the menu of tasty small plates was designed by Chef Aaron Burgau of the restaurant Patois. Bonus points for offering a craft cocktail menu, as well as live music.
This relatively recent addition to Magazine is a small but comfortable spot to explore your palate and leisurely sip with a friend. The white leather sofas might make you a little nervous about spilling some Cabernet, but the cozy, intimate setting is pitch-perfect for date night. Also, the $5 “leisure hour” special from 3-6pm Wednesday-Monday and all day Tuesday (red, white, and bubbles), is a solid deal.
Located on historic St. Charles Ave, you could hardly ask for a better spot to enjoy some wine and watch the streetcars. The bartenders know their vino and are happy to help, even if the thicket of decidedly young and well-heeled patrons might mean that it takes a spell to get your order in. And if wine’s not your thing, there's a well thought-out spirits list, as well as awesome food. Goose fat fries and frogs’ legs with spicy remoulade, anyone?
Not just your average wine shop, the Wine Institute of New Orleans (talk about an appropriate acronym!) offers tastings, classes, and more to help educate you, improve your palate, and get you nice and happy. This place is pretty high-tech, too, with automated pouring machines and tasting cards to help you as you work your way around the global selection of 120 wines by the ounce, half-glass, or full pour.
Wine and “casual fine dining” is the idea at this Vieux Carre spot in a historic building constructed in 1809. Grapevine offers eight wine flights ranging from nternational white to port, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and dessert wines, and a lengthy list of wines by the glass and bottle to enjoy. And the manly menu (double-cut pork chop, steak, steak AND lobster, etc.) states advisable pairings, which can cut out some of the guesswork for the indecisive or inexperienced oenophile.
If there’s one thing to say about Pearl, it’s that the shop has, definitively, the largest selection of wine in New Orleans (over 600 bottles). That’s pretty impressive, you have to admit. Adjacent to the store is Pearl’s wine bar, which offers vintages by the glass ranging from $5-$35, in addition to cocktails, craft beer, and dessert wines. Also noteworthy is their events schedule, which features, among other things, “Massage and Martini Mondays.” Um... yes, please.
With over 30 wines by the glass (not to mention generous pours), Swirl is known mostly for its European selection, paired with light fare like pickles and cheeses. This is most definitely the place you want to go after Jazz Fest if you’re looking for a spot that offers better wine (significantly) than the fest within walking distance of the fairgrounds.
Should you be on the hunt for a handsome, upscale wine spot in the heart of the Quarter, Patrick’s is where you should be headed. The list is solid, and it has a lovely courtyard, but don’t miss the happy hour special (4-7pm Mon-Thurs), which features domestic beer at $2, plus well drinks and house wine for $4. And if you happen to need your own personal, climate-controlled wine locker -- engraved with your name, no less -- it has that, too.
“Classic Creole Italian” fare and wines to match are the hallmark at Tommy’s restaurant, an upscale, downtown affair. At the wine bar, the 150-deep wine selection offers 20 by the glass, joined by a sizable Scotch, bourbon, and Cognac list, as well as the de rigueur small plates, cheeses, and so forth, plus apps and desserts if you want something a little more substantial.
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1. Bacchanal Wine600 Poland Ave, New Orleans
2. Oak Wine Bar8118 Oak St, New Orleans
3. The Tasting Room1906 Magazine St, New Orleans
4. The Delachaise3442 Saint Charles Ave, New Orleans
5. w.i.n.o.610 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans
6. Orleans Grapevine718 Orleans Ave Apt 10, New Orleans
7. Pearl Wine Co.3700 Orleans Ave, New Orleans
8. Swirl Sensational Wines3143 Ponce de Leon St, New Orleans
9. Patrick's Bar Vin730 Bienville St, New Orleans
10. Tommy's Wine Bar752 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans
Customization is what makes Bywater Bacchanal a fun dining experience. You personally pick a wine bottle straight from their wine cellar and pair it with as many pieces of cheese as you can stomach. Head out to the backyard for live jazz and string-light ambience, and a waiter will deliver your cheese selections with complimentary bread, preserves and nuts. If you want a more substantial meal, Bacchanal also offers an extensive fine dining menu.
With plenty of wines by the glass and almost one hundred bottles, Oak has a solid supply to offer any wine lover. What makes things really interesting is how Oak's varietals are grouped by palate, which is a good thing, since the menu of tasty small plates was designed by Chef Aaron Burgau from Patois. Bonus points for the craft cocktail menu and the live music.
This Magazine spot is a cozy place to explore your palate and relax over a glass with a friend. The leather sofas might give you anxiety about spilling some Cab, but the comfortable, intimate setting is fantastic for date night. Don't overlook the $5 "leisure hour" special from 3-6pm Wednesday-Monday and all day Tuesday (including red, white, and bubbles).
Picture this: an intimate dinner on an outdoor patio, strings of glowing lights crisscrossing overhead, sipping on a selection from one of New Orleans’ most decorated wine lists, and snacking on decadent bites like goose-fat fried pommes frites, piquant with peanut satay (or, for those undeterred by fine swamp food, the spice-obsessed frog legs). It’s your average night at The Delachaise, a weekend haunt for wine lovers with Creole cravings and time to spare -- evenings at this cozy joint are relaxed affairs, and the “walk-ins only” policy means you’ll likely wait for a table (trust us: it's worth it).
Not your usual wine shop, the Wine Institute of New Orleans (w.i.n.o.) offers classes, tastings, and more to improve your palate, educate you, and bring you a nice buzz. This spot is high-tech, too -- it's got automated pouring machines and tasting cards that'll help you work around the global selection of 120 wines, which are all available by the ounce, half-glass, or full pour.
Wine and "casual fine dining" take center stage inside this historic, Vieux Carre building constructed in 1809. Grapevine has eight wine flights that range from international white to port, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and dessert wines, plus a lengthy list of by-the-glass and bottle options to enjoy. The hearty menu (double-cut pork chop, steak, steak with lobster, etc.) lists out advisable pairings, which cuts down on some guesswork for the indecisive or inexperienced oenophile.
This shop has the largest selection of wine in New Orleans (over 600 bottles). You can enjoy a glass or two (or a few) just adjacent to the store, at Pearl’s wine bar. The bar offers vintages by the glass, which range from $5-$35, in addition to cocktails, dessert wines, and craft beer. The noteworthy events schedule features, among other things, "Massage and Martini Mondays." Um... yes, please.
With over 30 wines by the glass and quick with a generous pour, Swirl is mostly known for its European selection, which comes along with light fare like pickles and cheeses. This is clearly the place you want to go after Jazz Fest when you’re looking for a place that offers (significantly) better wine than you'll get at fest, all within walking distance of the fairgrounds.
When you're looking for a handsome, upscale wine spot in the middle of the Quarter, Patrick’s is the spot you want to find. The wine list is solid, it's got a lovely courtyard, and you don't want to miss the happy hour special (4-7pm Mon-Thur) -- featuring domestic beer at $2, plus well drinks and house wine for $4. If you happen to need your own personal, climate-controlled wine locker -- engraved with your name -- it has that, too.
“Classic Creole Italian” fare with wines to match are the signature move at Tommy’s Cuisine -- an upscale, downtown establishment. The wine bar has a 150-deep wine selection and offers 20 by the glass, assisted by a sizable Scotch, bourbon, and Cognac list, plus the de rigueur small plates, cheeses, and so forth -- AND apps and desserts if you want something a little more substantial.