It’s not easy to stand out on Vanderbilt Avenue just north of Prospect Park - a stretch that includes places like Olmsted, Maison Yaki, Faun, and Chuko - but LaLou does, thanks to one of the best natural wine programs in the city. The wine list at this narrow, white-walled spot includes some Eastern European varietals your wine store clerk has probably never heard of, as well as plenty of familiar options from famous regions in France and Italy. Whether you’re looking for Grand Cru Champagne, or you have a higher tolerance for barnyard aromas than Babe the pig, the very friendly staff will help you find something you’ll like. There’s also a straightforward food menu, and while the cheese plate and peppery saucisson are enjoyable snacks, there’s no need to go out of your way for the entrees, like a small portion of steak for $32, or roast chicken served in what tastes like caper juice. Instead, get drinks in the backyard or at the long bar with a date, and if you like each other (or the wine temporarily makes it seem that way), head to one of the many great spots up the street for dinner.
Where we've featured it
Wine bars don’t have to be pretentious, scary places. Here are 28 of the best ones in the city.
More spots in BrooklynSee more
Diamond Reef is a tropical-themed bar in Bed-Stuy where you can hang out in a nice booth and have a good slushy drink with an umbrella in it.
Buttermilk Channel is a true Brooklyn Neighborhood Hang serving some of the best fried chicken in town.
More Italian spotsSee more
Emporio is an Italian place in Soho, but it isn’t trendy. It’s just a solid place to get pasta with a group.
Boutros serves a mix of American, Middle Eastern, and Italian food and is worth checking out if you’re looking for a date spot in Brooklyn Heights.
Union Pizza Works
If you spend anytime near the Jefferson L Stop in Bushwick, you should know about Union Pizza Works for a casual night out with friends or your kids.
Suggested by our writers
A Prospect Heights restaurant serving some of the most inventive, delicious food in New York City.
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.
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.
Filter and browse restaurants near you
Text us for personalized recommendationsLearn more