Best Wine Bars in Washington

Wine O'clock, Anyone? Refocus and Relax at D.C.'s Fabulous Wine Bars

At the end of a long day, people just want to relax and rejuvenate before heading to bed. Wine is a favorite pastime among connoisseurs who can't wait to get their pour on. Whether you like red or white, sweet or dry, old world or new, the Washington, D.C. area has a number of wine bars to satisfy your palate.

Looking for lots of different choices? There are several bars in the nation's capital that have wine menus so long that they resemble small books. Grapeseed American Wine and Bistro has 350 selections with more than 80 just waiting to be sampled by the glass. Cork Wine Bar offers at least 50 wines by the glass and 160 bottles from small producers from around the world. 

Take an hour drive up I-270 to Frederick, Maryland to try two local favorites – The Tasting Room and Vini Culture. You won't be able to decide which is better – the amazing New American fare or the selection off the drink menu at The Tasting Room. Prepare for a fun experience at Vini Culture where wine is poured through a high-tech dispensing system. Try samples of all to find your favorite and go back for more!  

Wine can be fun whether you are a novice or an expert so head to the nation's capital to raise a glass at these top D.C. wine bars.  




Inside the Art Deco themed luxury abode, Hotel Palomar, you will find this jewel of a restaurant featuring sleek d�r harking back to 1920s New York paired with a Mediterranean color palette. The menu is composed of contemporary Italian dishes that pair well with one of their wines by the glass. Try a selection of cabernet sauvignon, pinot grigio or chardonnay just to name a few. Draught beer and house cocktails are also available as well. The venue serves dinner every day, breakfast on weekdays and brunch over the weekend. METRO: Dupont Circle.

Recommended for Wine Bars because: One of D.C.'s top restaurants, this venue has a small yet great selection of wines to pair with a delicious meal.

Gina's expert tip: They do not serve lunch so plan to come early or stay late.

Read more about Urbana Restaurant & Wine Bar →

Chevy Chase

This D.C. destination takes its name from one of the first avant-garde cabarets to open in Paris in the 1880s. With a casual atmosphere, guests may head to the upstairs wine lounge, Le Chat Perche, to sample some vino and watch silent images of film stars Greta Garbo and Gloria Swanson. Choosing wines from various regions and from small producers, guests are sure to savor every sip. Food menus are seasonal in order to bring guests the freshest dishes. Do not leave without sampling some of their sweet crepes. Your personal trainer may not like it but your stomach will! METRO: Friendship Heights.

Recommended for Wine Bars because: With an upstairs wine lounge and a menu dedicated to small producers, this spot is a winner for vino lovers.

Holly's expert tip: Check out their menu for fromages and charcuterie.

Read more about Le Chat Noir →

U Street

Can't make it to Europe? Go to Vinoteca to sit at their outdoor bar and bocca court and you will feel like you are there. Whether you prefer light or full bodied white or saucy reds, this venue has a number of different choices to satisfy your palate. Check out their Happy Hour to chose from 15 different wines for $5 a glass. Head here on Sunday night for a flamenco and rumba guitar performance between 8 to 11 p.m. Spanish wine, beer and cocktails are discounted during the event. METRO: U Street/African-American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo.

Recommended for Wine Bars because: Its classy rowhouse setting and smart pours make Vinoteca a winner among area wine bars.

Gina's expert tip: The venue is only open for dinner during weekdays.

Read more about Vinoteca →

Outside the City
Vini Culture
Photo courtesy of Vini Culture

Don't you hate it when you buy a bottle of wine and discover, it isn't what you wanted? Head to Vini Culture in Frederick, Md. where you can sample and compare a variety of different wines from their high-tech dispensing system. The wines are changed seasonally so your return trip may entail an entirely new selection from large and small vineyards. Buy a glass at the bar or use their enomatic card to purchase samples from the machines. While the food menu may be small, each selection goes well with wine. Chose from starters, salads, flatbreads and sandwiches. Vegan and vegetarian options are available.

Recommended for Wine Bars because: Wine out of high-tech dispensing system? This you have to see in Frederick, Md.

Gina's expert tip: If you are a newbie to the store, just ask for tips on how to work the machines. The staff are very knowledgeable and ready to help!

Read more about Vini Culture →

Opened in April 1995, this destination is much beloved and features a simple yet delicious menu served at the restaurant on the bottom floor and a cozy wine bar on the second floor. Serving lunch, brunch and dinner selections, favorites include the escargots au beurre d'ail (snails baked in garlic butter), risotto au zeste de citrons (lemon lime risotto with grilled shrimp) and foie de veau provencale (calf liver). The wine list is truly swoon worthy with more than 100 bottles to chose from to enjoy with friends and family. Wines by the glass are also available. Don't leave without trying dessert because each selection is worth the extra calories! METRO: Foggy Bottom

Recommended for Wine Bars because: With an outstanding selection of wines and an amazing menu of French cuisine, you will want to come back here again and again.

Gina's expert tip: Don't fret about parking. It is free in the evenings.

Read more about Bistrot Lepic →

Outside the City

Gas up the car folks because this restaurant/wine bar is totally worth the drive up to Frederick, Md. – about an hour outside of the district. You won't be able to decide which is better – the amazing New American fare or the selection off the drink menu. Check out their seasonal entrees for head directly to their classic dishes like Colorado lamb rack and Seymour Stern's crab cakes. Check out their wine flights with different selections of whites and reds. The venue underwent a renovation in early 2015 and reorganized the space to make it feel much more open so head north and check it out.

Recommended for Wine Bars because: Wine flights paired with delicious New American fare makes this Frederick, Md. restaurant a winner!

Gina's expert tip: Try to grab a seat by the window. Located at the corner of a busy intersection, it's a great way to people watch!

Read more about The Tasting Room →

Located just outside the district, this Bethesda restaurant's wine bar features a jaw-dropping 350 selections with more than 80 just waiting to be sampled by the glass. Bring your reading glasses because the wine menu is 19 pages long featuring both domestic and international brands. When looking over the menu, you will notice that each selection has a wine paired with it if you chose to try it. Because they only serve the freshest ingredients with their dishes, menus are seasonal and may change so check with your server if you are looking for a favorite dish.

Recommended for Wine Bars because: With a list including 350 selections, even the most selective wine connoisseur is sure to find a satisfying flavor.

Gina's expert tip: Check out their Happy Hour held from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday featuring $5 wines.

Read more about Grapeseed American Bistro & Wine Bar →

Want a casual setting to sit back and have fun with friends yet still have an upscale experience? Head to Cleveland Park and seek out Ripple, a restaurant/wine bar located just across the street from the historic Uptown Theater. Even the most persnickety wine connoisseur will find a wine to enjoy here because the menu has ten pages worth of by-the-glass and bottle options. (Wow!) The food menu changes every day so head to their website to see what seasonal dishes will be available for your evening out. Don't leave before heading over to the grilled cheese bar where you can order delicious sandwiches.

Recommended for Wine Bars because: Their 10 page wine list will win over novices and connoisseurs alike.

Gina's expert tip: Don't leave without sampling some after dinner wine choices available off the dessert menu.

Read more about Ripple →

Logan Circle

Washington, D.C. nightlife can get rather chaotic and overwhelming. Sometimes you just need a place to sit and enjoy a nice glass of wine with some simple, local food. Enter Cork Wine Bar on 14 Street in Northwest. Cold and hot menu items are meant to be shared and paired with suggested wines from their list that includes at least 50 wines by the glass and 160 bottles from small producers from around the world. Beer lovers, fret not. They also have a selection of American and European craft beers for your selection. You will not leave this establishment thirsty. Metro: U Street

Recommended for Wine Bars because: Offering a wide variety of drink, this spot will make any wine lovers day!

Gina's expert tip: Cork's weekday happy hour showcases select wines that are not on their regular list.

Read more about Cork Wine Bar →


Meet Gina Gallucci White

Gina Gallucci White is an award winning freelance writer with articles appearing in such regional publications as Frederick Magazine, The Daily Record, Montgomery Magazine and The Gazette. She...  More About Gina