Even in the August heat, there’s something about eating and drinking al fresco that feels intuitively appealing. It is summer, after all, and in the end what’s a little sweat under the legs when you get to imbibe out in the fresh air, wearing sunglasses and maybe even getting a little color, if you’re lucky (don’t forget to wear sunblock). Beyond that, eating and drinking al fresco in New York offers so many opportunities for people watching and…views. So many views it’s almost overwhelming.
While there is no shortage of restaurants or bars in the city that can give you whatever kind of outdoor experience you desire, wine bars with good outdoor space are a little more difficult to find. Indeed, instead of the usual sidewalk seating, backyard gardens or sunset views, they tend to trend cozier and more…enclosed. But that’s not to say they don’t exist. You just have to know where to find them. In this month’s Used Cork City I’m excited to share with you a few of my favorites (I apologize that these are all in Manhattan, but as a Manhattanite it’s what I know best).
Entwine: Entwine is a quaint little wine bar in the West Village that you might never come across if you didn’t know to look for it, so you can imagine what that means for its back garden. Indeed, having drinks there almost feels like you’re in your own private backyard—especially in August when most patrons are hesitant to brave the humidity. Entwine has a lovely selection of wines, with reds, whites and rosés on happy hour special from 2 to 7. They also make a mean Aperol Spritz, which really can’t be topped as far as refreshing summer drinks go.
Entwine is located at 765 Washington Street in the West Village (at West 12th).
Ardesia: If people-watching is more your thing, then try doing your next happy hour at Ardesia, a sleek and slightly sceney wine bar in Hell’s Kitchen. In addition to sidewalk seating, there are usually pretty interesting people filling those seats, which makes for a double whammy in that department. One thing to flag is that the bar is pretty far west—almost as far west as you can go without sipping your Sauv Blanc atop a wine bottle-shaped float in the Hudson. But if you can handle the walk from the 50th Street subway station I promise that will be the most uncomfortable part of the experience. In fact, one chilled glass of the above mentioned Sauv Blanc and you probably won’t even remember it.
Ardesia is located in at 510 West 52nd Street in Hell’s Kitchen (between 10th and 11th).
City Vineyard: In the interest of full disclosure, I still haven’t been to City Vineyard (so irresponsible as a wine writer). But it fits the bill for this roundup so perfectly that I couldn’t in good conscience leave it out. For those who haven’t heard of City Vineyard, it’s a relatively new wine bar from the founder of City Winery that’s had incredible buzz since it opened in 2016—and also it HAS A ROOF DECK WINE GARDEN THAT OVERLOOKS THE HUDSON. Because it’s affiliated with City Winery, it goes without saying that the wines are excellent. What makes City Vineyard really special, however, is that it’s one of the only roof decks in Manhattan that’s more…refined than the typical meat market scene. If that’s not enough: it’s the perfect place to watch the sun set.
City Vineyard is located at 233 West Street in the Financial District (on Pier 26).
Wine 30: Wine 30 is one of my oldest favorites in the city, for reasons that have nothing to do with its outdoor space. But because that’s the focus of this post, I’ll stay on point and tell you that it has not one but two outdoor spaces. And while the sidewalk seating is very limited, the back “porch,” if you will—essentially a dining room with a retractable roof in the rear of the building—is plenty spacious. In fairly typical New York fashion, it opens up into walls of surrounding apartment windows, but that’s part of the charm, along with an extensive wine list that is organized, adorably, by grape.
Wine 30 is located at 41 East 30th Street (between Park and Madison).
Sofia Wine Bar: Finally, Sofia. Sofia has what I’d call a legitimate secret garden—meaning, I’d been going there for years before I realized it existed. They don’t really advertise it, so you have to ask to be seated there (there being down a staircase, around a corner, and through a back room). Once you make it though, you’ll find a lovely and intimate setting to sip red, white, rosé or sparkling. It’s the perfect spot to take a date you really want to canoodle. Or a friend who happens to be an extremely low talker.
Sofia Wine Bar is located at 242 East 50th Street in Midtown East (between 2nd and 3rd Avenue).
By: Reagan Daly