Whether you prefer grand cru Burgundy or low-sulfur pét-nat from Missouri’s Ozark Mountain AVA, the ever-expanding wine bar scene of Los Angeles has your glass. There’s a lot of ground to cover between must-visit neighborhoods like Beverly Hills and Echo Park, but you can squeeze the best spots into just one night, if you have to. To make the most of your experience, ditch the car keys, request a rideshare and hit up these venues.
Wally’s Beverly Hills
Wally’s Wine & Spirits is an area stalwart, and you’d be remiss to pass up a visit while in town. Today’s incarnation has evolved from its basic bottle shop days on Westwood Boulevard into a two-location, wine bar/restaurant/gourmet grocery, which co-owner Christian Navarro calls “experiential retail.” The Beverly Hills outpost offers more than 100 wines by the glass, ranging from $15 New Zealand Sauv Blanc to $599 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. “This is a place for what my partners and I like: eating, drinking and carrying on,” says Navarro.
Tabula Rasa Bar
“Our goal was to be a neighborhood bar first,” says Zach Negin, who co-founded this spot in the heart of Thai Town in 2016. The space has since morphed into a natural wine mecca powered by a passion for boundary-bending wines made from hybrid grapes and obscure regions. You’ll find everything from still pours from Jerez, Spain, to Missouri-made sparkling rosé. But the best feature? Friendly vibes that kick the usual attitude of natty righteousness to the curb.
The granddaddy of LA’s modern wine scene is Dustin Lancaster and Matthew Kaner’s nearly decade-old bar in Los Feliz. And it sticks to its original formula: 150-plus wines by the glass and no list in sight. The tactic prompts servers to talk you through preferences or provide a mini-tasting while you hunt your perfect pour. An actual menu for smallish, savory dishes does exist, which amplifies the beverage offerings.
This can’t-miss destination is lit by flickering candles, stacked with stylish Silver Lake denizens and set to a soundtrack of soul, funk and ska. Ask for the bartender’s guidance, and it’ll run from seaweed-laced gose-style ale to a frequently updated lineup of natural superstars like whole-bunch, carbonic Pinot by Burgundy’s Nicolas Vauthier, and a golden-hued white blend from Le Coste in Italy.
Published: May 9, 2019