The Best Wine Bars In Los Angeles guide image


The Best Wine Bars In Los Angeles

20 wine bars that are actually worth going to.

We love wine. And we love drinking it with friends. It’s just a shame that so many wine bars in LA are overpriced, pretentious, and have atmospheres that barely rival most Brentwood orthodontist offices.

Luckily, more places are starting to prove that wine bars can actually be some of the most fun places to hang out in town. Whether you’re meeting a client, a first date, or your old roommate just really wants to drink some chardonnay tonight, these are the LA wine bars you need to know about.


photo credit: Offhand Wine Bar

Offhand Wine Bar review image

Offhand Wine Bar


3008 Santa Monica Blvd Suite A, Santa Monica, CA 90404, Santa Monica
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When it comes to the demographics of wine bars in Santa Monica, Wally’s is typically tourists and sugar babies, Esters is a holding ground for hangry people waiting for their table at Cassia, and Bodega is 23-year-olds on early-in-the-game dates. Then there’s Offhand, the chill, just-sophisticated-enough antidote to all of the above. Sure, the building itself looks like it could be a Chipotle from the outside. But inside, they’re spinning vinyl with super smooth transitions, pouring interesting natural stuff, and the lighting is just right. This is a great spot to meet up with friends or a date when you want to chit-chat, but also want to feel like you’re out on the town. Come by for a drink and you’ll probably stay for two.

Cafe Triste is a buzzy natural wine bar in Chinatown run by the team behind Silver Lake wine shop Psychic Wines.  On weekends, the sidewalk out front is a packed, see-and-be-seen scenario where people stand around with glasses of gamay until midnight. But you can also usually walk right up and claim a wooden banquette or tiny table inside their moody, low-lit dining room. Wines by the glass span from French pét-nats to juicy Australian reds, with nothing on the daily rotating menu priced over $15. The friendly staff will also talk you through the bottle list if you're planning on posting up in the corner for a few hours and glaring at passing strangers.

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The Ruby Fruit might just be the most joyously raucous wine bar we’ve ever been to. The new Silver Lake queer space is the first lesbian bar to open in LA in over a decade and already feels like a lived-in tentpole of the community. The small strip mall spot is wall-to-wall people every night with the party often spilling out onto the sidewalk and even the parking lot. As far as the wine goes, it’s fairly barebones at the moment—there are only five options ranging from “red” to “pink” and a glass will set you back a hefty $17. If you’re able to snag a table though, be sure to take advantage of their excellent snacks menu (get the smoked beets with ricotta and pistachios).

Voodoo Vin is a natural wine bar in Virgil Village with an impressive collection of 400 bottles and a menu of simple small plates that slightly upstages the generous pours. The candlelit space feels like you’re in a barebones Parisian café with only a few posters on the walls, two communal tables, and a few chairs scattered on the sidewalk. It’s an intimate spot that doesn’t take reservations, so you're best bet is to take a few friends who know what “full-bodied” means and snack on a few dishes: there's a great beef tartare on toast with Caesar cream, a bowl of spicy ‘nduja bolognese, and a plate of the kitchen’s homemade mortadella with pickled sweet chilis.

This casual wine bar right on Ventura is the kind of place you walk into and mutter, “Wow, this is really cool,” without even realizing it. The space isn’t big, but with a wrap-around bar, two-seater booths, and a front couch area, there are plenty of places to burrow in for the night and pretend you’re on vacation in the French countryside. If you get hungry, there’s a solid menu full of cheese, charcuterie, and everything else that tastes good while drinking wine.

When it comes to a night out on the Eastside, Bar Bandini usually isn’t the first place that comes to mind. But this Echo Park wine bar deserves to be in your rotation. Bandini is one of those places that always seems to get the mood right—on weekdays that means regulars drinking natural wine from the tap and complaining about how there’s too much traffic on side streets. Come weekends, things get livelier, but you’ll never have to worry about getting a lemon drop thrown in your face. In fact, it’s beer and wine only, but it’s the furthest thing from a snooze.

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The 20 Most Fun Bars In LA Right Now

Holcomb is the kind of natural wine bar you walk into and immediately wish it existed on your block. With a long wooden bar, leather booths, and plenty of floral wallpaper, it’s nice enough to bring a first date to, but also casual enough for a weeknight wine outing in sweatpants. This Highland Park spot is run by the same people as the equally excellent Bar Covell in Los Feliz, which means you can expect a tremendous wine list, solid bar snacks, and bartenders who’ll happily let you taste-test until you find the right glass. Bonus: There’s a front sidewalk patio that’s entirely dog-friendly.

While we would never recommend taking an actual wine certification course on a first date (too much studying), a night at Angeleno Wine Co. in Chinatown makes learning about grape juice actually fun. It’s the first fully-fledged winery to open in LA since Prohibition, and the owners of the place will happily tell you all about varietals, vineyards, and vintners ​​while you try to figure out if your date has any weird attachments to their ex.

At first glance, Melanie looks and feels like many other good wine bars around town. There’s a well-curated list filled with mostly European biodynamic wines, a cute space that feels like a friends’ living room right as the party is starting to peak, and a menu filled with snacks you want to eat while drinking chilled Beaujolais. But what makes this spot great are the actual people serving you the wine. No question here is a dumb question, even if you’re date asks if orange wine is made from oranges. As far as the food goes, the mussels are a standout. They’re plump, buttery, and come bathed in a rich vadouvan curry. And though it’s not technically on the menu, be sure to ask for a side of their perfectly-crispy shoestring fries. It’ll be the perfect exercise to see how good your date is at letting you eat all of them.

The Best Bars On The Eastside guide image

LA Guide

The Best Bars On The Eastside

Wife & The Somm is a casual wine bar in Glassell Park that’s much bigger than it appears from the sidewalk. With two different interconnecting patios and a main bar area that’s as outside as it is inside, you have several choices when it comes to seating. If you’re rolling in with a big group though, we recommend the leafy, semi-private back patio. When it comes to the food, expect small plates like charcuterie, seasonal pasta like tagliatelle in yuzu butter, and other things that taste great as you work your way down their excellent wine list, which includes an entire chilled red section.

With their sprawling sidewalk patio and menu packed with funky orange wines, Tilda is where you go to impress the person sitting across from you. If you’re not familiar with skin contact wines (although, the fact that you’re out in Echo Park somehow tells us you are), someone from their waitstaff will patiently walk you through their menu of native Portugal varietals and Cara Cara orange spritzes. If you’re hungry, grab a tinned fish board or dish filled with the meatiest, most buttery Castelvetrano olives you’ve ever had in your life.

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Located in a converted bungalow in Virgil Village, this neighborhood wine bar has everything you like about your apartment (huge windows, cozy atmosphere) and none of the things you don’t (poor wifi connection, unwashed dishes in the sink). In addition to the tables on their wraparound patio, their outdoor courtyard is one of the most romantic around—think big, comfy couches, lanterns overhead, and an evening light that’s so flattering, you run the risk of having anyone sitting across from you falling in love. Be sure to keep an eye out on their food line-up, Melody is home to some of the most exciting pop-ups in LA.

Same Same in Silver Lake is just as much a wine bar as it is a Thai restaurant, with an always-rotating list of excellent American and European biodynamic wines. It’s the kind of place you can come by yourself on a quiet Wednesday night, hang at the bar, and sip unfiltered Slovenian wine in peace or roll in on Friday with friends and power through bottles of chilled Gamay like its alkaline water. Another plus is they don’t take reservations, making it a great option if you forgot that it was your turn to plan date night and everywhere else is booked up.

Tabula Rasa is the anti-wine bar wine bar. The industrial space in East Hollywood is calm and cool, there’s probably a live band in the corner, and most people inside are talking about Moby’s free meditation album and not the Malbec they’re currently holding. But they do serve great wine here, along with a solid beer list and a snacks menu that has no business being as delicious as it is.

Many of us know absolutely nothing about wine and have simply perfected the art of pointing at things with confidence. So the notion of a wine bar with over 150 rare bottles generally induces waves of anxiety. But here’s the catch—at Bar Covell, there are no menus. You simply tell the people behind the counter what you’re in the mood for (to the best of your ability) and they choose for you. And they usually get it exactly right. Also, the snacks menu is quite strong, and you and your date should definitely be splitting that charcuterie board.

If you want to drink wine in Studio City, do it at Vintage Wine + Eats. For starters, this natural wine bar has a pastel-heavy, farmhouse chic aesthetic that’s quite soothing and the kind of environment where one glass of chilled Gamay becomes four in the blink of an eye. The food menu is respectable, with everything from cheese boards and chicken skewers to a delicious $16 bar burger topped with Raclette, tarragon aioli, and caramelized shallots. Swing by on Sunday and that burger suddenly becomes $1.99—one of the better burger deals in town. 

Do you have a strong opinion on Merlot vs Syrah? Do you know what kind of wine glass will go best with the wine you want to drink? If you’re a serious wine person, you probably already know about Wally’s. If you want to be a serious wine person, you should start going to Wally’s. This Beverly Hills spot is, like most Beverly Hills bars and restaurants, kind of a scene—it’s full of rich people who love wine. Come here to people watch, and don’t leave without getting the carbonara pizzetta.

There are a lot of things French people do better than us, and one of them is wine. So Garçons de Café, a little wine shop and bar in the Spring Arcade run by three Frenchman, is always an excellent choice. The wine list is mostly French with some bottles from Italy, US, Lebanon, and Mexico, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed, try one of the wine flights. Accessorize with a cheese and charcuterie platter, a Parisian sandwich, or some crème brûlée—berets are optional (but suggested).

Most people inside El Prado don’t even realize it’s a wine bar. Essentially serving as the pre-/post-game watering hole for Echoplex concertgoers, El Prado can certainly get loud at times, but ultimately serves as a cool, mellow spot to grab a quick drink during the workweek. If you want to hang outside, they also have one of the liveliest sidewalk patios in the neighborhood, with several intense games of chess happening at any given time.

​​Kippered is a downtown wine bar with a unique specialty: tinned fish. Lots of tinned fish in fact, with over 50 different cans on the menu. But if you aren’t someone whose eyes light up at a tin of sardines, you should head to this charming, dark wood-lined bar steps from Grand Central Market anyway. There’s a smartly curated selection of sparkling wines by the glass as well as a longer bottle list if you want to hang around for a while. Kippered is also run by the same people behind DTLA Cheese, so don’t be shocked when you see drinkers ordering the soft-rind cheese from France that’s served with a glug of Champagne poured over the top.

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