But even though Sonoma and Napa may be far, far away, Chicago more than holds its own in the realm of wine bars. Here are five suggestions:
339 N. Dearborn St. at Marina City
This wine bar and bistro offers than 50 wines by the glass, with menu selections tailored to wine pairing, and even a 50-selection cheese bar. They also offer wine tasting classes, and a market for wine, books and fresh flowers. In their own words, Bin 36 is “is determined to erase the intimidation factor of wine.”
Bin Wine Cafe
1559 N. Milwaukee Ave.
This cozy Wicker Park haunt is a sister bar to Bin 36, and features a broad selection of vintages and seasonal dishes. As the Gayot restaurant and travel guide points out, you’ll enjoy your selections in an environment made all from natural materials, including cork partitions and a zinc bar. All of their bottles are also available for sale.
D.O.C. Wine Bar
2602 N. Clark St.
At one time, this space near Clark and Wrightwood was part of an old used record store. Today, it is bedecked in rich, dark hardwood, and has a working fireplace – in front of which you can enjoy any of more than 350 bottles, or flights of reds, whites, champagnes or dessert wines. D.O.C. also has a small-plate menu, and offers tastings every other Monday.
The Tasting Room
1415 W. Randolph St.
This lounge anchors the west end of the Randolph Street Restaurant Row, and features hundreds of wines by the glass or bottle, or on their reserve list. The wine list changes with the seasons. The Tasting Room also touts its “innovative nouveau-American dining.”
Webster’s Wine Bar
1480 W. Webster Ave.
On the western edge of the Lincoln Park neighborhood, Webster’s bills itself as the city’s “oldest and finest wine bar,” having been in business since 1994. More than 35 wines are available by the glass and more than 500 by the bottle. Small plates and homemade pizzas are on the menu. They also keep a full schedule of tastings and classes.