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Wine bars in Chelsea or W. Village?

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Howdy, SF Chowhound here - headed to the Big Apple on business later this week.

For a change, I'm spending a few extra days, and am anxious to get out of boring Midtown. I've already got dinner reservations at Jules Bistro and Crispo (dining with family coming down from CT) after reading recommendations on the board.

But for a pre or post-dinner drink with friends, I'd like some recs for an unpretentious, moderately priced wine bar in Chelsea or the West Village. Ideally a place that you could wear a nice pair of jeans ... Please help.

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  1. I recently enjoyed Ara Wine Bar, which is on 9th Avenue, near 13th. It was cozy and much more mellow than most of the options in that neighborhood. The bartender/waiter was very friendly, too. It's quite small, though, and I imagine it can get kind of packed at prime time on weekend nights.

    http://arawinebar.com/index.html

    1. Bar Veloce in Chelsea

      1. Inoteca (very low key) or AOC Bedford (more upscale) both on Bedford street in the west village

        2 Replies
        1. re: Bernke

          The one on Bedford is actually 'ino, inoteca is its sister restaurant in the Lower East Side, but I think ino is a great recommendation. Right near by on Downing off of Bedford is Downing Street Winebar. Both of these places are very small so if you can't get a seat at one you could always try the other.

          1. re: bml

            Actually you are referring to BLUE RIBBON Downing Street Wine bar - part of the Bromberg Borthers' wonderful mini-chain of establishments. I have been obsessed with this place. They are currently offering a flight of 3 hard to find German Rieslings that I am crazy about: Josef Fries. It is tiny but serves as a holding pen for those dining across the street at BR Bakery, so regularly clears out as they take their tables acorss the street. They have great small bites too: rillettes, sliders, cheeses, salumi, egg shooters. Love love love this place.

        2. 8th Street Wine Cellar is a gem on the not so scenic stretch of West 8th Street.

          1. I went to Jules a couple of times and I hope you will like it. I brought my parents last year, my father is a jazz enthousiast and he thought that the trio playing there that night was excellent, and they loved it.

            I went to Centro vinoteca at the beginning of January this year and I loved it. They have quartinos of wine, not too expensive and I love Italian wines, and small plates. I had sweetbreads and shrimp and both were excellent.

            1 Reply
            1. re: cricri7

              El Quinto Pino on west 24th is a great wine and tapas bar. Try the uni sandwich.

            2. i had a pretty good dinner recently at Alta (10th bet 5th and 6th), its a tapas / wine bar (the wine list is mainly spanish and then italian)

              we literally ordered the entire menu as we had alot of people (there is literally an option to order everything)...favorite dish was the duck

              1 Reply
              1. re: Lau

                ooh, so many good recs here. This list is going to keep me busy for a while ... thanks everyone!!

              2. I don't think Ara has a great wine selection and how I hate Meatpacking. My opinion would be to try to get a little east and go for:

                Bar Jamon (spanish)
                Solex (french)
                The bar at CRU (everything and best if you are going for the wine not the crowd)

                I would take 'ino and Blue Ribbon Downing Street Bar (can it be longer) over Bar Veloce but all good choices.

                1. Love, love 8th Street Wine Cellar. The owners are wonderful and the staff is super friendly. And although I adore all the Blue Ribbons, the wine bar was not impressive. Maybe just an off night. If you are looking for a place pre/post Jules, Solex is really nice (a bit pricey), but I love Grape and Grain. For a place a little different, try Bourgeois Pig. I have not been, but Gottina in the west village has gotten rave reviews.
                  Cheers!!!!

                  1. La Laterna in the West Village. Nice selections and romantic. If you are uptown my choice is PUDDING STONES.