There are a lot of reasons why we don’t want California to secede from the Union, and wine is at the top of the list. The state, which would be the fourth biggest wine producer in the world if it were its own country, makes a lot more than just the cabernet sauvignons and chardonnays it’s best known for. If you want to do a deep dive, head to Coast And Valley, a restaurant and wine bar in Greenpoint that has about 100 bottles on its all-California wine list. Everything on the menu is available in 2 and 5-ounce pours, so you can try a lot without spending too much money or getting too drunk. Sit at the bar and ask the friendly servers to recommend a few different glasses of roussanne or pinot noir, or sit at a table and have the sweet potato with parmesan fondue (the best thing here).
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21 Greenpoint is a great neighborhood spot that’s not just a consolation prize if you can’t get into Paulie Gee’s across the street.
Five Leaves has been a Brooklyn hipster staple since 2008. We don't love it as much as other people seem to, but brunch is good, they do a solid burger, and the scene is always entertaining.
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Speedy Romeo LES
A smaller, very casual Lower East Side outpost of Brooklyn’s Speedy Romeo. They may be known for pizza, but that’s not the best thing here.
Although they’re known for their libations at Fort Defiance, this restaurant doesn’t feel like one of those super-cool, pretentious cocktail dens that we all know too well. It has the promise of the perfect neighborhood spot that, if we lived in this hood, we’d frequent all the time.
Bowery Meat Company
An East Village steakhouse that doesn’t really feel like a steakhouse. And that’s a good thing.
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The Ten Bells
The Ten Bells is a natural wine bar on the Lower East Side that serves some good small plates and $1 Happy Hour oysters every day.
Ruffian is a tiny East Village bar with a huge natural wine list and a short menu of really good Mediterranean food.
City Vineyard is a restaurant and wine bar on the Hudson River in Tribeca, and it’s a great spot to drink wine outside with a group.
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