Best Of Chicago

Best Chicago Wine Bars

October 6, 2010 1:50 AM

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Webster Wine Bar

Photo: Webster Wine Bar

Chicago may be best known as a beer-and-a-shot town. When you think of the local bar scene, you likely think of Old Style and the Bears game before you ever think of words like “varietal” and “bouquet.”

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:

Bin 36

339 N. Dearborn St. at Marina City
(312) 755-9463
www.bin36.com

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

credit: binwinecafe.com

Bin Wine Cafe

1559 N. Milwaukee Ave.
(773) 486-2223
binwinecafe.com

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.
(773) 883-5101

www.docwinebarchicago.com

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.
(312) 942-1313
www.thetastingroomchicago.com

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.
(773) 868-0608
www.websterwinebar.com

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.

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