French Wine by Bibou or Rittenhouse Sq
Have a reservation for Bibou. Is there a good wine store nearby for French wine? We're staying by Rittenhouse Sq so over there would work also.
Is the neighborhood around Bibou interesting to stroll around before/after dinner? If so, which streets? I think the Italian Market might be closed already (reservation at 6:30).
Thanks in advance.
A third vote for this store. I've been disappointed by the French wine selection at both Chestnut St stores, but there are definitely a few interesting bottles at the 11th and Locust store. Additionally, it sets up a nice pre-dinner stroll--say, take 10th St. down to South, then over to 9th for the rest of the way.
I'm guessing you are not from PA, because the sad fact is that there are no good wine stores in the entire state. They're all run by the state-controlled Liquor Control Board. All the employees are state employees, and wine knowledge or enthusiasm are not job requirements. Here's a particularly egregious example of what we're dealing with:
Some state stores are better than others though, there's a decent one at 19th and Chestnut that's very close to Rittenhouse and is a "Premium Collection" store, which has a climate-controlled room with better wines. I'd recommend that one.
The neighborhood around Bibou is nice enough but I wouldn't say it's interesting to walk around at the time you'll be getting out of dinner. If you go north a few blocks you'll be on South Street.
All wine stores are owned and operated by the state, but some are better than others. The one on Chestnut between 12th & 13th streets is a "premium collection" and has a large selection. You should find something good there.
You are right that Itialian Market will be basically dead at that time. Besides that, the neighborhood immediately surrounding Bibou is not that interesting and borderline sketchy if you walk South (it's not really unsafe, but I wouldn't send tourists there). However, depending how you walk the other way you will pass through some nice, safe neighborhoods, but it is almost all residential. So you could have a pleasant if somewhat boring walk to/from downtown if you want. From downtown, I'd probably take 9th St and maybe cut over to 8th St at Catherine, which has a little park and nice homes. The walk from the liquor store I mentioned is probably about 15 minutes, 20 if you stroll leisurely.
If you are more adventurous, you could walk NE up Passyunk Ave (picking it up at Catherine St would be my recommendation) into the South St area, which is a pretty crowded, bar hopping type scene on the weekends (but pretty chill during the week), with some small shops and ice cream, frozen yogurt, etc. Then cut up 2nd St through Headhouse Square, and continue north through some pretty interesting neighborhoods in Society Hill--a mix of well kept and occupied Colonial era homes mixed with modern construction. You can then cut through the Society Hill Towers courtyard (two big high rises) into Old City, which is also an active nightlife area. Most of the bars are pretty uninteresting, but if you'd like a nightcap you could go to the bar at Amada for Spanish wine and good cocktails, or if you are a beer drinker, Eulogy, the Irish Pol, and National Mechanics all have very good beers on tap. From there, you'd probably take a cab back to Rittenhouse (they're easy to grab).