Wine bars are the biggest trend in drinking right now. Besides discovering new varietals from around the world, there’s plenty of attention paid to the cuisine, too. Wine bars are perfect for date nights or just a classier (and quieter) place to hang out with a small group than a normal bar. I like to order a few appetizers, pause for a “wine course,” then order a second round of appetizers to end the evening.
Aroma Kitchen & Winebar
36 E. Fourth St., NoHo
You'll feel like you've stepped into a small Italian farmhouse at Aroma. Brick walls, wooden tables and candlelight make for a perfect romantic evening. From 5-6:30 p.m. daily, enjoy half-off wine by the glass or bottle. My favorite deal is the $15 flight of three wines and an appetizer. If you're ordering a few dishes to share, try one of the homemade pastas like the ricotta cavatelli with kale and shiitake mushrooms ($17).
8th Street Wine Cellar
28 W. Eighth St., Greenwich Village
Be careful not to walk by this sleek wine bar, hidden below the sidewalk. I love the menu at 8th Street because it's built for sharing and full of interesting combinations. Start with the mushroom or butternut squash bruschetta (3 for $10 or 4 for $12) and then get the tuna sliders ($9). Daily from 4-7 p.m. take advantage of $6 glasses and $18 bottles. Order a cheese plate with an $18 bottle of wine and settle in for a beautiful evening.
24 Harrison St.
Don't let the massive wine list scare you. Terroir makes trying a new varietal fun. The mostly European list is easily explained by the helpful and knowledgeable staff. From 4-6 p.m. every day sample sherry starting at $4, $5 beers and $8 wines. Bar snacks ($5) include "fried stuff" and bruschetta that changes daily. During the week they also offer $1 oysters. I like to order small plates like smoky almonds and gorgonzola risotto balls while trying different grapes.
Monica DiNatale is a Deals Expert and Author of 365 Guide New York City, a treasure trove of restaurant deals and bar specials in New York. Monica has been featured as the Dining Expert for PIX 11and Good Day New York and has hosted segments for The New York Chocolate Show and The New York City Craft Beer Week Festivals. “365 Guide New York City” is available in paperback and e-book.