The 4 Best Austin Neighborhoods for Wine Lovers
The beverage scene continues to flourish and thrive in Austin, with imbibers flocking to the Lone Star capital for excellent craft beer, perfectly executed cocktails, and yes, even for a glass of wine. The city isn’t typically considered a wine hotspot, but Austin’s DIY spirit extends to the wine trade, with small wineries opening throughout Central Texas and wine bars seeking to educate their clientele on tasty varietals from all over the world.
If an evening of sipping and swirling sounds appealing, then you’ll want to check out these four Austin neighborhoods that contain particularly high densities of wine pubs and wineries.
Arguably the current center of Austin’s vibrant drinking landscape, the lively, bohemian neighborhood of East Austin is all too eager to cater to any and all booze-based preferences. The eastern edge of the area hosts large warehouse-style properties, making it an ideal home for urban wineries. As for the downtown-adjacent regions like East Cesar Chavez and Holly, bars and restaurants with expertly curated wine lists are plentiful and highly regarded.
Spots to Check Out:
- The Infinite Monkey Theorem: A hip warehouse winery on the far-east side of Austin, The Infinite Monkey Theorem uses grapes harvested from Texas and Colorado to produce appealing bottles and cans of easy-drinking varietals like Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Malbec, and Tempranillo. Visitors to the winery can tour the facilities before posting up at the tasting bar to sample The Infinite Monkey Theorem’s flagship wines, along with seasonal specials.
- Bufalina: This East Cesar Chavez restaurant may technically be a Neapolitan-style pizzeria, but it’s also famous for its exceptional list of European wines, with a special focus on natural wines. Bufalina offers a beloved happy hour on a nightly basis with $5 glasses of house wine and half-off discounts on all bottles under $100 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
- APT 115: For an intimate bar experience that feels like an evening at a chic, wine-savvy friend’s home, look no farther than APT 115 on East 7th Street. This boîte keeps fewer than 12 varietals on its wine-by-the-glass list at any given time, and it has a menu that changes daily to keep their offerings fresh for regulars.
You can find many of Austin’s most upscale dining and drinking experiences in the city center of Downtown Austin—so it’s hardly surprising to discover that this neighborhood contains excellent spots to seek out some quality wine. From condo dwellers to employees of downtown’s many businesses, this neighborhood’s well-heeled residents appreciate variety in their beverages, and these bars and restaurants provide that in spades.
Spots to Check Out:
- Bar Lamar: A supermarket isn’t everyone’s first idea of a place to find an impeccable wine bar, but Downtown Austin’s Whole Foods happens to contain Bar Lamar, a tasting counter offering glass pours of international wines from highly reputable producers for reasonable prices. The space is overseen by Whole Foods’ master sommelier Devon Broglie, who uses his expertise to curate unique selections and provide a truly singular drinking experience for Austin wine lovers.
- Le Politique: A chic French brasserie in the heart of downtown, Le Politique is a must-visit destination for Francophile wine drinkers. The list includes varietals from regions spanning Gallic territory, from Alsace to Bordeaux and Provence to Corsica. Their by-the-glass offerings are numerous, providing guests with an appealing range of wine carefully selected to pair with dishes like escargot, moules frites, and steak au poivre.
- The Grove Wine Bar & Kitchen: Local mini-chain The Grove specializes in New American bites, an expansive international wine list, and hospitable digs. The downtown location features a scenic patio and tasting flights compiled by sommeliers with themes like “Sparkle of my Eyes,” “All Sauvignon Blanc All the Time,” and “Lost In France.” If you find yourself feeling peckish during your wine sampling, The Grove serves a full dinner menu as well.
The arguable center of the “Keep Austin Weird” movement, artsy South Austin neighborhood South Congress is home to some of the city’s quaintest cafes, most well-established dining destinations, and finest wine lists. Anchored by the thoroughfare of the same name, the neighborhood epitomizes Austin’s high-low sensibility with food trucks popping up alongside fine-dining spots. The housing here is equally varied; the neighborhood offers affordable condos, cute cottages, and luxe modern homes alike.
Spots To Check Out:
- June’s All Day: An iconic ATX locale for upscale comfort food, June’s All Day on South Congress Avenue also offers visitors an eclectic wine list of Old World and New World bottles. The well-versed servers can help you navigate the sizable selection, and if you’re looking for a high-quality bargain, June’s All Day’s daily happy hour from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. gives you half-price rates on sparkling wine.
- Winebelly: If small producers and lesser-known varietals are on your wine wish list, Winebelly on South 1st Street will serve you well. This tapas bar serves intriguing pours from all over the world, with prices topping out at $99 per bottle. In terms of eats, Winebelly’s menu includes traditional Spanish tapas like jamon iberico and patatas bravas along with globally-influenced fare like harissa vegetable skewers and Szechuan fried quail.
South Lamar is one of Austin’s most rapidly evolving neighborhoods, and just as it’s become fertile ground for condo developments, it’s also breeding an exciting restaurant and bar scene. Wine enthusiasts will find numerous places here to enjoy a glass, both on and around the neighborhood’s main drag of South Lamar Boulevard. You’ll also find coffee shops, both local and chain fast food joints, and 24-hour diners along the thoroughfare.
Spots To Check Out:
- House Wine: A wine bar nestled within a converted house, House Wine is a cozy urban getaway for aficionados and wine newbies alike. The ever-changing list features bottles from major wine regions around the world, and in addition to glass pours and a bottle list, the space offers weekly wine tastings designed to introduce guests to new varietals. If you want to make a full night of it, House Wine also provides a menu of bites like cheese plates and pizzas, and they host live-music performances several times a week.
- Aviary: While most wine bars serve snacks to accompany the pours, some destinations really focus on the pairing of wine and food, paying equal attention to both sides of the equation. A prime example can be found in South Lamar’s Aviary Wine & Kitchen, an eatery with internationally influenced dishes that complement the impressive wine list. From cheese and charcuterie boards to raw-bar options to entrees like quail al pastor and sweet potato mole, Aviary’s exceptional bites are worth the trip on their own, and their wine offerings include intriguing themed selections like “Orange is the New Wine” (an assortment of orange wines from all over the world).