UWS Wine Bar Survey
Been working my way through the UWS. Please fill in where I've missed, and expand on my comments.
Bin 71: Frenetic at night, good wine list, good food, the staff is informed and friendly. I like going in the afternoon (and they serve lunch, go figure) 'cause I can get a seat at the bar.
Barcibo Enoteca: it's across the street from my building, so access is good. All wines are Italian. I love the stemless glasses. They'll give you a sample of anything by the glass. Food: veal crostini, the mushroom risotto, the cheese platter ... all good. Very busy at night (forget about Fri/Sat nights) but a very good experience.
Riposo 72: SE corner of 72nd and Columbus. They have happy hour pricing, $2/glass or 20% per bottle before 6.30pm, and all day Mon/Tues (I think). The flatbreads are huge and delicious. It's in regular rotation for me.
Arte around the corner: walked past a million times, but haven't yet sampled the wares.
Wine and Roses: went one night, it was packed, standing room only. We got menus, but waited 15 minutes to order, no one ever came by, so we left. Since it was packed, imagine it's good, but can't comment.
Vai: my new favorite place. The wines are fantastic (the Tempranillo, the Malbec, the Negro something or other, it's got a big O on the bottle), and I haven't found any food that's mediocre. I've had the yellowtail sushimi, the sausage rigatoni, the grilled squid, the gulf shrimp, the cheese platter (you can't do better buying cheese at Zabar's ... huge portions of great cheese, unlimited bread). I've been several times, the staff recognized and remembered me, and the service was generous. I've brought different friends each time, and they've all been wow'd.
Pudding Stones West: very clean and modern bar. It seemed a tad antiseptic of an atmosphere for me (Thursday night, late, not crowded) but quite OK.
Buceo 95: Next on my list, but haven't been here.
What have I missed? (limited to the UWS -- 59th to 110th, CPW to the river) Include restaurants where I can sit at the bar, have a great glass of wine and order an appetizer.
Arte around the Corner. Went there tonight, on my way home. It was about 2230, I walked past Wine and Roses, which was crowded, and decided to give Arte around the Corner a try, as it was less busy. Good call. Bartender was a girl named Jill who was totally cool. A regular was at the bar, and we chatted, with Jill, and a second glass of wine was served, and a biscosti before they were put away for the night (apparently on the house). Jill was totally cool, and the wine was fine. I'll give it another go. Not yet a favorite, but it might be.
Vai and Ripose 72 are definitely well worth the effort. Arte should be good on an off night where I don't have to wait for a seat.
you may also want to visit Vintage on Broadway between 93rd and 92nd. Its a wineshop with a cozy bar area in the back. They have some cheese and salumi platters, and have a nice array of flights. Which bartender is on duty makes a big difference.
Although I have not been there, you may want to check out unWINEd in the Symphony Space building, entrance on 95th between Broadway and West End. Eclectic tapas and of course wine.
For a different scene entirely, there's Cafe de Artistes and their back-room bar.
re: Skillet Licker
Oh, yes, do try Vintage. I had forgotten about that one. We were going there regularly but cut back because we realized we were going there waaaay too often. I agree that the bartender working makes a big difference; although they all seem to be musicians of some sort (go figure). We also always felt like we got a lot more drinks than we paid for. I especially enjoyed doing the sparkling wine flights. (One reason one would get more of those is because even with the special sealers they still could only keep the sparklers for so long before going bad; so they'd give you more.)