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The Best Wine Bars in the Boston Area

Feb 09, 2024

From classy spots with deep wine lists to lively hangouts pouring trendy bottles, high-quality wine has never been more accessible

Boston’s wine scene may be relatively small, but that doesn’t mean it’s uninspired. From classy spots with deep wine lists in Back Bay and Beacon Hill to lively hangouts pouring trendy bottles in Somerville, Cambridge, and Brighton, some of Greater Boston’s best wine bars and restaurants are making high-quality wine more accessible for the area’s diners and wine lovers. And they’re not going to leave you hungry, either — many boast fantastic food menus, so you’ll always have the perfect pairing at hand. Before you buy your own bottle and fork over that corkage fee, check out some of these top-notch Boston-area wine bars.

A fantastic menu of elegant small plates complements the list of largely natural old-world wines at Spoke Wine Bar in Somerville’s Davis Square, making this an ideal first-date choice for wine lovers. Travel from the Loire to Wachau and back again, sipping on some of the best small-production wines available on the Boston market. The seasonal menu and oft-refreshed wine list ensure there’s always something new to discover.

Porter Square’s Dear Annie has become a national sensation since opening in late 2021, and for good reason — whether you opt for a by-the-glass pour or take a bottle home with you, you’ll encounter nothing but fun, fresh finds at this walk-ins-only hot spot. The veggie- and seafood-based menu offers a casual but delicious counterpart to the wine selection, enhanced by the romantic, dimly lit space filled with communal seating, not totally dissimilar to sibling Rebel Rebel (see below).

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Natural-wine lovers should make their way to Lauren Friel’s Rebel Rebel to experience a list of progressive producers and new by-the-glass pours on a regular basis. The wine-lined walls and soft neon lighting of this small but bustling bar let you know you’re in for a treat before you even order. This is a cornerstone of trendy Bow Market, a restaurant and retail hub in Somerville’s Union Square, so if you can’t find a seat inside, you can always sit in the year-round shared courtyard and order food from other vendors at the same time. On the market’s second floor, you’ll also find sibling Wild Child, a hip bookstore and wine shop.

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If you find yourself between Harvard and Central Squares in Cambridge, you must stop at bright, airy Pammy’s. This Italian-inspired New American restaurant boasts some amazing food for sure, but you shouldn’t stop there when the Italian-focused wine list is such a treat. The by-the-glass list has more than enough interesting picks to choose from, but the expansive bottle list, featuring a slew of small-production winemakers, is even more exciting for those willing to do some searching for the perfect bottle. Ask for the ideal pairing for the lumache bolognese with gochujang and bliss out.

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Is it a grocery store? Is it a snack bar? Yes, and — it’s Super Bien, an impossibly cool “grocerybar” with an incredible selection of South American natural wines. Melissa Stefanini brings her famous empanadas from Buenas in Bow Market to Brighton’s Charles River Speedway (also home to celebrated sake bar the Koji Club). Maia Fleming, former wine director at Rebel Rebel, curates a wine list studded with eco-conscious and forward-thinking producers from Chile, Argentina, and beyond. All this plus bright neon colors and a buoyant neighborhood vibe are a recipe for a good time.

In Downtown Crossing, you’ll find Nathálie’s sibling, Haley Henry, which puts tinned fish — along with an incredible wine list — in the spotlight. The small, elegant space feels quite intimate, but also keeps things light and lively with a sense of humor and nostalgic ’90s tunes blasting from the speakers. This makes it the perfect place to branch out and try a small producer you’ve never experienced before — the knowledgeable staff is happy to chat about the bottles they have open, and can help find something that pairs well with the tin of pungent sardines they’ll pop open for you.

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Upscale but understated, Bin 26 Enoteca in Boston’s historic Beacon Hill neighborhood is an Italian restaurant with an extensive wine library featuring bottles from across the globe. Don’t be overwhelmed by the list — staff members are happy to point you in the direction of the right bottle, regardless of what you’re looking for. The intimate space is ideal for opening a bottle and sharing some snacks after dinner, though you can certainly grab a full meal here, too.

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Bubble Bath, from acclaimed restaurateur Tiffani Faison’s Big Heart Hospitality, offers an experience beyond what you might expect from a typical wine bar. Part of the new High Street Place food hall downtown, this playful bar focuses specifically on Champagne — from grower Champagnes to a Moët vending machine — and other sparkling wines, though plenty of still options grace the menu as well. Snacks like hot dogs and popcorn offer a low-brow counterpoint to the top-notch wine list featuring standout producers, and you can mix and match food from other vendors too, including a couple more Faison businesses. The 13-seat bar feels exclusive but relaxed: a perfect environment for popping some bubbles.

French reds steal the show at Troquet on South, a Leather District restaurant that also specializes in modern French cuisine, but starting with a Champagne by the glass is always a smart move if you’re partial to bubbly. Owner and sommelier Chris Campbell is happy to guide you through the extensive list, helping you select a bottle everyone at the table will love. This is a white-tablecloth spot that’s anything but stuffy, refined yet still creative. For a nightcap, pop by Offsuit, a speakeasy-style cocktail bar tucked into a back corner (if you can get a seat, that is).

Greek wines are chronically overlooked, but Back Bay’s Krasi is trying to change that. Wine director Evan Turner has constructed an astoundingly deep list that ranges from classic, approachable Assyrtiko to complex, muscular Mavrodaphne grown in pre-phylloxera vineyards. The menu of Greek meze focuses on light, refreshing Mediterranean flavors that allow the wine to shine. Polished and fashionable, the space provides an ideal backdrop for a first date and a business dinner alike.

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Taberna de Haro, a cozy Spanish restaurant in quiet Brookline, offers way more than your typical tapas spread. Sommelier-owner Deborah Hansen has also concocted the second-largest all-Spanish wine list in the U.S., featuring many impressive producers and an array of surprisingly affordable bottles from the traditional to the avant-garde. If that’s not enough for you, snag a sherry, ranging from super-salty to lusciously sweet, from the country’s longest sherry list at the Straight Law Bar within the restaurant.

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Tucked into a corner of sports-bar-dominated Fenway is Nathálie, which offers a constantly changing wine list brimming with natural wines and female producers, plus a refined but casual vibe that feels both relaxing and upscale. Like sibling bar Haley Henry (see above), Nathálie will open anything on the long but focused wine list for you if you commit to half a bottle. Make sure you also check out the seasonal small plates, familiar yet creative, from black bass crudo with salsa macha to sauteed calamari.

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Artsy bistro Gray’s Hall is the place to be if you’re looking to open some bottles in South Boston. Next door to sibling market American Provisions, the bar’s wine list leans natural with a worldwide reach, even offering some fortified Spanish numbers. Select from an array of reasonably priced small plates like swordfish skewers and pretzel baguettes, then ask the friendly staff for help choosing the right wine, from Alto-Adige oranges to acid-driven Zweigelt.

Located in the lobby of Brookline’s Hilton Garden Inn, Punch Bowl is an unexpected treat for wine lovers from Boston and visitors from around the world. This hotel bar’s wine list focuses heavily on women producers from France, Italy, and beyond, in addition to an impressive cocktail program. The wines pair beautifully with locally sourced seafood and classic New England dishes, and the sun-soaked space acquires a sexy, backlit vibe as the sun sets.

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