It’s not hard to find wine - it’s there on just about every menu in the city. But sometimes you end up with a cloudy glass of Barefoot masquerading as actual wine, or something that tastes suspiciously like straight grape juice and reminds you of college. On the days when you want to drink something good, and maybe a little interesting, you’ll need somewhere that puts time and effort into their wine list, and that’s where we come in. This guide has you covered with everything from a spot with wine in its name to a nice restaurant that happens to take wine very seriously. They all have great wine lists and helpful staffs, and you’ll be able to find a spot for everything from a post-work venting session to a first date.
June’s All Day is consistently a great spot - at any time of day and with any person you can think of. Which makes it seem almost unfair to everywhere else when you add in their long wine list with red, white, rose, and orange wines from around the world. And while you could take a quick look through it and pick something familiar, we like to ask the bartender or server to suggest something new. You can sit at the bar inside or find a spot on the patio while you order some salami and cheese or the fried chicken.
House Wine was doing the “houses-as-bars” thing in South Austin way before Rainey caught on. It’s a casual and cozy space and is all the things Austin used to be five years before you moved here. But before you start the “things have changed” rant, grab a table and order some charcuterie and a few of glasses of wine. Pretty soon, you’ll realize that maybe you do have stronger feelings about vintages than you thought and you’ll inquire about their tasting classes (for a friend).
There was a lengthy beer and pizza phase in your life, but now you’ve matured and moved on to the wine and pizza phase. This probably also means you have a favorite grocery store, a strong opinion on apple varieties, and a love for Bufalina. This East Austin spot serves some of the best Neapolitan-style pizza in town and has a long wine list organized by country. It’s usually packed though, so come early, and when you successfully grab a few seats at the bar, celebrate by ordering a bottle of wine and telling your friends about the YouTube black hole you fell down learning about apple breeding.
Odds are you went on a third date at Lenoir with someone who thought the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was better than the original and conveniently went to the bathroom when the check came. But don’t hold that against Lenoir, because while it can definitely be a romantic spot, it doesn’t need to be reserved solely for gazing into another person’s eyes. Their patio is perfect for a glass of wine after a long day and they have Happy Hour from 5-6:30pm daily (except Mondays, when they’re closed). Come with a few people who are emotionally prepared to listen to you vent, and more than likely end up staying way longer than you expected to.
Aviary is a South Lamar spot that was made for catching up with an old roommate or bonding with that person you always end up next to at the gym. While you can get a full meal here, we’d focus on the wine, cheese, and oysters, and your friend’s story about the loyalty points she’s racked up with all of her work travel. And then we’d order another bottle.
Maybe it’s the dark mahogany, the plush booths, or the dimly lit bar, but Jeffrey’s feels like somewhere you’d plot a jewel heist, or at least a surprise party for your dad. And with a 38-page wine list, it’s one of our favorite spots for a big occasion. The prices are high, but you’ll get to try some wines that will impress that friend who is always just getting back from “the next Napa.” Though if you’re not quite feeling up for a scene, stick to the bar and the by-the-glass list.
The bartenders at Emmer & Rye create unique cocktails with obscure juices and garnishes, so it might feel boring to opt for wine instead - until you look through their carefully curated wine list. Head out to the patio to enjoy a couple glasses along with your cacio e pepe pasta and short rib carnitas.
At-home wine nights can make you feel a little basic these days. There’s usually comfortable clothing and some sort of mindless show on TV that you all occasionally yell at. If you’re rolling your eyes while also nodding your head as you read that, it’s time to put on some real pants and change things up by going to Justine’s. No one’s ever in a rush here, so settle in for a full night of wine and talking about what fictional/reality TV characters you’re currently frustrated by.
Uchiko is the ideal option for a date night that has you home before 9pm. Get there early enough to snag a seat at the bar, and quickly put in a food order to start covering your countertop territory with sashimi. While sake is a classic choice here, they also have Happy Hour glasses of wine and a wine list that’s almost double the length of their sake list. Whatever you do, don’t give up your seat at the bar too quickly - there will be plenty of less lucky couples hovering nearby.
If you’re looking for something with more of a neighborhood feel, Vino Vino in Hyde Park is a good option. It feels like most of the people here just put their kids to bed and came by to chug a glass or two before anyone wakes up for a bathroom break. It’s usually not too busy, so it will work for you plus none, one, or your whole group. The cheese board and other snacks are a good complement, but the real focus here is the wine.
Launderette is already one of our favorite places to go for brunch or dinner and sit on the big patio. The fact that they have a great wine list just makes all of those things better. Come with a date, coworkers, or even a sleeping baby in a stroller for one of the nicest places in the city to hang out.
We know all the wines at Asti go great with pasta, but sometimes it hard to decide which to choose. Thankfully, you can use a point-and-guess strategy here and there’s a very good chance you’ll end up with something you’ll like. Even better, their new patio faces Duval and offers some fun people-watching while you’re enjoying the wine you’ll try and fail to remember the name of later.