What’s a Wine Bar, Anyway? ( News New York )

New York wine bars sound great, with great new options multiplying and excellent old standbys.

Poppies are seen all over the world. However, however many have opened, and however warm and inviting some of them are, I am always troubled by the question: What is a wine bar, and how is it different from a restaurant?

Full-service restaurants such as Claud, Contento and Chambers, where reservations are in high demand with exceptional food prepared by chefs, are often called late wineries. Therefore, there are lower places where the drink is poured into the drink and the bite, which is served from the tin in which it was packed.

Are all wine bars? Or so obscure a name as to be empty? As from whom you ask.

“It’s something we’ve struggled with a lot,” said Chase Sinzer, owner and wine director at Claud in the East Village, a place I love that feels very much like a restaurant. “The answer is amorphous. We were very aware that people want to call places wineries. I’m open to what people want to call us, but from what I see, Claud is more of a restaurant.

I have gone to wine places for a decade, from classic wine bars in France, enoteche in Italy, and tapas bars in Spain, which have formed examples for others around the world, to dozens of years in New York. many of whom often came and went without a trace. Some memories are particularly fond, too soon.

Over the last month, as I’ve been making wine stops through Manhattan and Brooklyn, I’ve been observing the evolution of the wine bar here in New York. Most of the focus is on French, Italian or Spanish wines and food, although some nice variations pop up. Lavaux in the West Village in Switzerland places wines and dishes. Kaia’s South African wine and food property is located in the Upper East Side. The cottage in Clinton puts as much cheese as wine.

Wine bars seem to have been evolving for decades, echoing New York’s wine culture. Back in the late 1970s and early 80s, when wine cellars were a novelty, they put it educationally. Clients would be educated and engaged by newly engaged servers in the subtleties of alarm and production.

Not surprisingly, this model did not stick. People go to bars to drink, eat and socialize, not usually to get edified.

The new generation of wine bars that emerged in the mid-1990s were more closely modeled on the larger European models, casual places to stop for a drink and a bite to eat. The focus was on creating comfortable, welcoming environments, not seminars, whether you were there for 45 minutes or the rest of the night. This pattern continued.

Many say a good formula – simple, casual, cheap. What separates the best of the newer wine bars is the strong individual stoker and the mind of the wine list. They often offer high drafts in large and sometimes rare bottles, but not always. Gem Wine on the Lower East Side, one of my favorites, offers about 150 selections with prices barely above $100 a bottle, and many for much less.

The glass is essential for various competitions, although it does not have to be bulky.

The food can be simple, although it’s nice to complement the repertoire of old meat (or salami) and cheese with a few solids and some vegetables. You have to go in for a taste or a meal, even if the bars don’t even have coffee.

Good wine cellars are informal neighborhood places rather than places, with occasional exceptions, such as when the wine list is so deep that it draws on trophy and rare bottle hunters. But usually they shoot in places close to home. Take some possessions, but always have space for walk-ins.

The wine was generally served to the young. In almost every place I visited, I was by far the oldest patron there. Exceptions, they are located in places that support the strong night. Clientele tends not to go home immediately to their families at the end of the day.

That’s why many of the best new wine chains focus on the selections most popular with younger wine drinkers: natural wines, skin or orange wines, natural sparkling wines, and the like. You won’t find many places with classic Napa Valley or Bordeaux cabernets.

Places like this are distinguished from restaurants such as Claud or rooms, where you can reserve the idea of ​​eating a memorable meal. Few would enter, as they would sit in almost any restaurant at the market. But few come just to have a glass of wine.

“The wine bar lends itself to restaurant use,” says Mr. Sinzer, Claud. “It gives you more experience.”

That’s really the nub of it. The wines of the great country are near the articles, and you call your places.

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