Those who travel to New Orleans for a weekend on the town probably don’t associate the city with fine wine bars. The (rather unappealing) party thoroughfare of Bourbon Street is more known for its clubs and pubs, specializing in the dangerously sweet and strong “Hurricane” mixed drink; however, look beyond the city’s tourist traps and you’ll find a range of excellent wine bars that capture the city’s unique mix of Southern, Creole and French influences. It’s not all Hurricanes in the NOLA bar scene.
Here are five of the top New Orleans wine bars:
1. Meaux Bar
Softly lit and stylishly decorated, chic Meaux Bar, on the border of Treme and the French Quarter, serves up some of the best French fare in town, while keeping a unique New Orleans vibe. Head there for a luxurious meal (you can’t go past the entrecôte with parmesan fries) coupled with an exquisite French or US bottle to share, for the perfect evening out.
2. The Tasting Room
On the edge of the charming Garden and Lower Garden districts, The Tasting Room is a relaxed bar which serves a range of upscale wines. Decked out with wide lounges, exposed brick walls and a comfortable patio spaces, The Tasting Room has a focus on small producers and vineyards, so you can be sure to have a unique, local experience at this neighborhood spot.
With the largest selection of wines in New Orleans, you’ll always find something up your alley at Pearl. A hybrid bar and wine shop, this mid-city destination offers up wine by the glass (you can choose from any of their 600+ bottles from the adjacent shop if you don’t fancy any of their by-the-glass suggestions) and delectable tasting plates. Named after the owner’s great grandmother, Pearl is a fantastic little NOLA spot you shouldn’t miss.
4. Orleans Grapevine
Dangerously close to Bourbon Street but surprisingly removed in style and atmosphere from the party street, Orleans Grapevine is a spacious, relaxed wine bar in the heart of the French Quarter. A fun piece of trivia for the playful among you: if you arrive before 10pm, you can roll dice to determine the price of your bottle. However, this bar isn’t gimmicky, and you can’t go wrong with a glass of red and one of their cheese plates.
Located in a large-verandahed, rambling white house in the Uptown/Garden district, Oak wine bar feels wonderfully Louisianan. A far cry from NOLA’s clichéd party scene, Oak is all fine wines, sophisticated atmosphere and delectable Southern cuisine. The menu revolves around tasting plates, so it’s the perfect spot for a date or an evening with friends, and the servers are great at suggesting the right wine or cocktail for each dish. Prefer beer to wine? Oak has recently opened up a charming brother bar, Ale, right next door.
This article is part of an original Epicure & Culture series, Worth The Buzz.
What’s your favorite New Orleans wine bar? Please share in the comments below.
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