Though there are plenty of places in the Nation’s capital to grab a glass of wine, the following establishments go above and beyond when it comes to the wine bar scene. Here’s where to head:
“Food is the focus; wine is the passion” is the tagline of this Penn Quarter/Chinatown watering hole. With a wine list containing over 40 by-the-glass options and some 1,000 different wines—coupled with an extensive menu tailored to every type of taste—it’s no wonder that Proof has received numerous accolades. Here, chef Austin Fausett runs the kitchen, offering a considerable list of cured meats and composed plates with global influences; the four-course tasting menu, complete with wine pairings, runs $115 per person. But the wine is what you’ve come here for: bar director Adam Bernbach’s list is actually a 49-page book, with featured regions including Austria, Greece & Balkan States, California and New Zealand. Not in it for the bottle? Forty wines-by-the-glass are dispensed via the Nomadic wine system.
The 450-bottle wine list at this Chinatown hotspot focuses on small, family-owned wineries as well as lesser-known regions and varietals, like TK and TK. And, as the name suggests, wine flights receive the limelight, with 28 customizable options highly encouraged; Around the World Rosé features wines from Provence, Hungary and Madison, Virginia, while the Gems from Germany boasts a Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir from the Pfalz, a dry Riesling Spätlese from Rheinhessen. Forty by-the-glass options are also on offer, and served in Spanish bodega glasses. (Don’t worry, stem glasses on deck should have the hankering to be fancy.)
The local favorite brainchild of Thomas Boisvert and Kathleen Davis, The Pursuit Wine Bar offers 45 wines by-the-glass from its lengthy list. The duo loves wine so much, that they offer Monday night “heavy pour” specials all night long, as well as a “Global Oentry” program, where a new flight featuring wines from around the world is available every Thursday over the course of 12 weeks. On the weekends, a $30 per person bottomless brunch is up for grabs, where guests can choose from classic Mimosas or pomegranate “Pomosas”—a “great way to pretend that bubbly is good for your heart.”
Debuting on November 9, the revamped Cork Market and Cork Wine Bar will finally be under one roof. The first floor will house Cork Market, offering dining complete with winemaker events, wines available for retail, a cheese counter and a casual cafe. Journey upstairs to the wine bar, which will have 60 seats and 35 wines by-the-glass. Coming soon, Cork Wine Bar & Market will be making it’s own rosé on-site; the first batch will be released next year.
The District gained another new wine bar this year with the opening of Tyber Creek Wine Bar & Kitchen, offering all the wine colors of the rainbow, including orange. Brought to you by the husband-and-wife team, Jordan and Jonathan Stahl, Tyber Creek has a very reputable (and affordable!) wine list, with glasses averaging between $10-$12 and bottles hovering around $40. Wines can be paired with shared plates like stuffed piquillo pepperes with chorizo and manchego, or bone marrow with date jam and flatbreads prepared in a wood-fire oven.
Hero image courtesy of Scott Suchman.
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