Not only is it a great time to drink wine at New York City’s bars and restaurants, a recent slate of wine shop openings is propelling us into a new age of sommelier- (and even celebrity-) driven wine buying for home. With their distinct point of view and taste level, these newcomers are a boon for those who like to be able to ask a wine store employee which natural wine bottle to pair with the pozole they’re serving at their next dinner party. For example.
While New York State liquor license rules forbid bars and restaurants to sell bottles to take home (unless you drank part of it in the establishment)—something that is allowed at the incredible wine bars in Paris, London, and Copenhagen—we can at least look forward to favorites such as Wildair and Contra opening their own wine shop in the upcoming Essex Crossing market on the Lower East Side this spring. Here are a few of our favorites to hold you over until then.
If you’re the type to venture to Bushwick for pizza and natural wine, no doubt you’re a fan of Ops, the Brooklyn pizzeria whose well-edited selection of no-sulfur vinos is one of NYC’s most approachable. Now co-owner Marie Tribouilloy has created an equally approachable wine shop in Ridgewood, Queens. Designed to feel like her home—dining table, stereo, and all, in a way that reminds us of our favorite Copenhagen wine store, Rødder & Vin—Forêt is as user-friendly as they get, thanks to detailed handwritten tags on each bottle. It’s also neighborhood-friendly, with plenty of bottles in the $12-to-$15 range. 68-38 Forest Avenue, Ridgewood
The owners of the Henry Hall apartment building, across from Hudson Yards, have created the ultimate amenity for tenants. No, it’s not just the restaurant Legacy Records, opened by the team behind the wine lovers’ favorites Charlie Bird and Pasquale Jones. It’s Parcelle Wine, a gorgeous shop started by Legacy’s wine director and partner, Grant Reynolds, and former Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare wine director Christine Collado. It looks like a high-end fashion boutique and is just as carefully curated, offering just 40 or so bottles that are chosen for their peak performance at just that moment—both in terms of the season and drinkability. Like a clothing store, the selection will change almost monthly. 511 West 38th Street (between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues), Midtown West
Make all the mommy-juice jokes you want at this Park Slope newcomer: Co-owner Amy Poehler has a great sense of humor. The former Saturday Night Live star opened this shop with two musicians she befriended on the Wet Hot American Summer set in order to be able to offer the neighborhood affordable, approachable options—many in the $13 range—alongside higher-end bottles, with nightly tastings and free delivery. There’s also a nice selection of locally produced spirits. Zero snobbery here. We’re hoping the store hosts a screening of Wine Country, the forthcoming film that Poehler directed, starring pals Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, and Maya Rudolph. 487 Fifth Avenue, Park Slope
The wine-store-as-living-room trend continues with this chic space nestled near the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Opened by the kids at Depanneur Brooklyn—the upscale deli selling incredibly Instagrammable sandwiches and locally sourced snacks, cheeses, and culinary gifts—it offers bottles by cool natural and biodynamic favorites from France alongside, say, Italian and Spanish classics—i.e., there’s something here to bring to every party. 292 Livingston Street, Boerum Hill