Best wine bars: Best bars for pinot noir and more in Chicago
Enjoy wine and cheese, sauvignon blanc and other types of wine from Chicago's best sommeliers at the city's best wine bars.
Handcrafted cocktails and local brews are big in Chicago bars, but wine is still as popular as ever. That might have something to do with the fact that these days, sommeliers aren't afraid to think outside the box, from wine cocktails to wine on tap. Even the food at these top Chicago wine bars go beyond the typical wine and cheese plates. Get ready to sip and swirl at some of the best wine spots in Chicago.
RECOMMENDED: Full list of the best bars in Chicago
DiSotto Enoteca Old World wine list and Mediterranean small plates: Scott Harris has nailed the formula at Purple Pig and Davanti Enoteca, so why mess with a good thing? Admittedly, the scales at DiSotto (in the cellar-like basement of Francesca’s on Chestnut) tip toward drinking—the food is limited to antipasti, bruschette, cheeses and salumi. But when you’re spreading thick ricotta and fragments of honeycomb on toasted bread or sampling warm, marinated olives or indulging in the toast with a truffled egg yolk at its center, the appeal of this wine bar can’t help but feel unending. 200 E Chestnut St (312-482-8727, disottoenoteca.com). Dinner. Average small plate: $12.
Pops for Champagne This sleek, shiny bar in Tree Studios boasts—as the name suggests—the city’s best selection of bubbles. Most of it doesn’t come cheap (it never does, honey), but you’re not just paying for the booze—you’re paying for some of the most educated bartenders in town. Take advantage of their knowledge and ask lots of questions. And when you’ve had enough education (and wine), head downstairs to Pops’ cocktail bar, WaterShed. 601 N State St (312-266-7677, popsforchampagne.com). Sun–Fri 3pm–2am; Sat 1pm–2am. Average glass of wine: $15.
RM Champagne Salon You enter through an unmarked alleyway, glowing strings of lights leading you to a cobblestone courtyard and ornate parlor that resemble a Parisian hideaway. You forget where you are. You order glasses of Champagne you’ve never heard of, you gently unhinge oysters from their shells, and when dessert comes, your selection is plucked from a fanciful cart, replete with bite-size macaroons and caramels and marshmallows. Heaven? Who needs it when there’s RM? 116 N Green St (312-243-1199, rmchampagnesalon.com). Mon–Fri 5pm–2am; Sat 5pm–3am; Sun 5pm–2am. Average glass of wine: $12.
Rootstock Wine & Beer Bar The novella-length menu at this low-key alcove contains loving and helpful descriptions of an impressive selection of wines and beers. And thanks to the array of small plates served until 1am, this is the kind of warm, simple neighborhood place you’ll never want—or need—to leave. 954 N California Ave (773-292-1616, rootstockbar.com). Mon–Sat 5pm–2am; Sun 11am–4pm. Average glass of wine: $8.
Telegraph Webster’s owners Tom MacDonald and Jason Normann have narrowed their focus for their second wine bar, which has a prime perch overlooking Logan Square. Sommelier Jeremy Quinn has assembled a list of pretty exciting naturally made old-world wines, and the staff that serves them couldn’t be more easy-going or attentive. Meanwhile, chef John Anderes (ex-Avec) elevates Telegraph into a full-fledged restaurant with a menu that showcases the season (e.g., a grilled baby cucumber salad with Pleasant Ridge cheddar) and sates wine-induced cravings (case in point: a ham-and-coriander-mustard tartine). 2601 N Milwaukee Ave (773-292-9463, telegraphwinebar.com). Mon–Thu 5pm–1am; Fri, Sat 5pm–2am; Sun 5pm–midnight. Average glass of wine: $9.
Webster’s Wine Bar We’ve missed many a movie because we stopped by this funky wine bar across the street from Webster Place theater for a pre-show cocktail. When tasting pours are this affordable (and interesting), we pretend it’s for educational purposes and stay all night, soaking up the dark, Bohemian vibe and munching on tasty cheese plates. We’ll catch the movie on Netflix. 1480 W Webster Ave (773-868-0608, websterwinebar.com). Mon–Fri 5pm–2am; Sat 4pm–3am; Sun 4pm–2am. Average glass of wine: $9.