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  • Writer's pictureAlbert C

Warm Up This Winter at an NYC Winery

Want a new experience without the expense of a lavish vacation? Take a trip around New York City and explore the best wine bars from cozy fireplace joints to more refined tastes. Stay warm and don’t worry about walking -- hire a plush limo ride! It’s fun to play tourist and explore different spots that you wouldn’t ordinarily visit. We’ve taken the guesswork out of your night by ordering these fun wine bars geographically so you can hop from place to place without thinking.

Red wine being poured in wine glass

Schoolbred’s – East Village

Decorated by a Tony-award winning set designer, this Scottish themed pub has tasteful touches with stained-glass, retro bar stools with red upholstery, cherry wood-paneled walls, and old school portraits in oval frames. If the décor isn’t enough, head over during a special occasion when the bartenders don plaid kilts.

There are also two lounge sections: one with a beaded entrance and wrap around couches and another with a sweet fireplace and single-seat couches that you may lose yourself in (especially after a few crisp beers). Don’t be thrown off by the reasonably priced pints ($5!), the clientele is rather sophisticated and sips on classics such as greyhounds and screwdrivers with freshly-squeezed orange juice. If you're feeling hungry, try out the challah mac & cheese, which is served in a pan and decadent enough to satisfy your cravings.

City Winery – SoHo

Your experience at City Winery depends on you. Folks come here for Klezmer brunches, an intimate performance with their favorite musician, or to simply enjoy a plethora of wines. Either way, you won’t go hungry with menu items like their artisanal buttermilk fried chicken served with butternut squash, kale, and tasso ham.

The crowd is often boisterous and friendly, with people offering to share their wild and cultivated mushroom flatbreads with strangers sharing the community tables. During concerts, there’s something charming about hearing glasses and silverware clink together along with the strumming of an acoustic guitar. Depending on the crowd (and the number of glasses they’ve consumed), the swaying can also be quite endearing to partake in.

Red wine being poured in wine glass

Brandy Library - TriBeCa

For those who used to sneak off to the corner of the library and get drunk, you’ll feel right at home (or college). Those who never went near the library will be relieved to see that the bookshelves are filled with roughly 400 different bourbons, whiskeys, scotches, and rums, and not books (unless you include the 2-inch thick binder of drink offerings). They do, however, refer to their bartenders as “librarians” here. Perhaps this is the library you’ve always wanted?

The lighting is dim enough to be alluring without inviting you to fall asleep. One woman was overheard describing the décor as a “1960s Mad Men vibe.” It’s hard to find a seat if you come with a large party, but the ambiance suits couples who want an intimate setting to snuggle up by the fireplace. There are also several dishes to satisfy a variety of taste bud palettes, ranging from spicy tuna sushi to a rack of lamb. Stay a while and delight in all that the library has to offer – there’s no sense of urgency here.

Black Mountain Wine House – Gowanus

There’s no way that this place could get any cozier. With firewood in the front and a replica barn house door, even the outside is inviting. Inside, there’s rustic décor with pendant lighting and wine glasses hanging upside down from a rack overhead. There are over 30 wines by the glass or bottle, plus a curated half bottle list if you’re so inclined.

Similar to an actual farm, their menu changes with the seasons. It’s hard to go wrong in the winter with items like white beans on crostini and pork meatballs with chunky tomato sauce and a generous portion of sourdough slices. Have a private table to yourself or join those at the communal table or the bar. It does close at 12 a.m., so be sure to get there before then to warm up by the fire.

Red wine being poured in wine glass

CAMP – Cobble Hill

Just like at sleep away camp, the entire place is a log cabin, with their decor consisting of a kayak leaning against the wall, candy cane striped sofas, a moose head above the fireplace, which extends out of the brick wall, and an archery target (thankfully, no bows and arrows are present).

Dishes include make-your-own-s’mores, which contains an adorable tray of marshmallows, graham crackers, Hershey’s chocolate, wooden sticks, and a small open flame to roast your rations in the middle. After you’ve melted your s’more together, grab one of the many board games available, like Jenga or Scrabble, and make some new friends. There is a DJ on Fridays and Saturdays if that’s your thing, or if you prefer to sing out your own tunes, there’s karaoke on Tuesdays.

After a fun night (or early morning) of bar hopping and drinking immeasurable amounts of wine, don’t worry about getting home safely. Your driver will be waiting to pick you up and escort you back to your house, where you can recuperate from your staycation without having to worry about unpacking your bags.

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