Los Angeles Wine Bars with Stellar Food

Go beyond cheese and charcuterie at these top wine bars and restaurants

Beet spaghetti at Cento Pasta Bar in DTLA

Beet spaghetti at Cento Pasta Bar | Photo: @jenn_harris_, Instagram


Wine bars in Los Angeles run the gamut from intimate spots to full-service restaurants. Whether you're a novice or a oenophile, there's wine for all tastes and budgets. Menus cross styles as well, from simple cheese and charcuterie to more elaborate cuisine. While there are dozens of wine bars and restaurants from which to choose, check out this sampling of 12 wine bars and restaurants in Los Angeles.

Spanish Fried Chicken at a.o.c.

Spanish Fried Chicken at a.o.c. | Photo: @suzannegoin, Instagram

a.o.c.



As restaurateurs with James Beard Foundation acclaim, Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne can rightly be named the original trendsetters for wine bars and seasonal small plates in Los Angeles. The duo first opened Lucques in West Hollywood with great success, followed by opening a.o.c. in 2002 with a move to a larger location on Third Street a decade later. Over the years it has evolved into a wine bar/restaurant serving small and large plates for sharing. The space is Old World meets modern Mediterranean with a dark wood interior and long bar, communal high tops, and leather booths that lead out through arched doors to the brick and tile garden patio— one of the loveliest in Los Angeles. Styne is among the best-known sommeliers in the nation and has collected an outstanding global inventory of wine, including biodynamic and organic varieties. Goin’s award-winning wine country cuisine pairs perfectly with such choices as global cheese selections and specialty charcuterie, farmer’s and vintner’s plates of roasted vegetables and meat, wood oven specialties, and the famed Spanish fried chicken. Their other restaurants, Tavern and a.o.c. Wine Bar at the Hollywood Bowl, also feature similarly stunning wine/food menu pairings.

Day Boat Scallops at Augustine Wine Bar in Sherman Oaks

Day Boat Scallops with yuzu kosho, pea purée, blood orange and ramps at Augustine Wine Bar | @augustinewinebar, Instagram

Augustine Wine Bar



Food & Wine Magazine listed this cozy Ventura Boulevard spot as one of “America’s Best New Wine Bars” when it opened in early 2015. Notably, Augustine is from the owners of Bar Covell (located on the border of Los Feliz and Silver Lake) and musician David Gibbs, a Sherman Oaks resident who generously shares his knowledge, as well as his collection of rare vintage wines listed on a chalkboard for $20-$40 a glass. The printed menu lists nearly 75 wines by the glass ranging in price from $13 to $20 and bottles ranging from $48 to $80. Several wines off the menu date back to the 1800s, as well as some rare vintages from World War I and World War II—be sure to ask about those.

The food menu has been elevated and includes a select seasonal menu of small bites, such as almonds, olives, and tater tots (the real deal); to gourmet salads with dried fruit and cheese accents; and entrees such as a Manhattan Strip and Day Boat Scallops. The space itself has an Old World ambiance with antique radios, vintage publications, kitschy signs, and a stand-up piano circa 1912. The centerpiece is a 35-foot, white Carrera marble-top bar with 18 seats. There is a small row of two-person booths as well as a sofa, chairs and antique table where you’ll be comfortable hanging all night.

Canadian Riesling and Cheese Plate at Bar Covell

Canadian Riesling and Cheese Plate at Bar Covell | Photo: @naregkeshishian, Instagram

Bar Covell



This rustic, casual Los Feliz spot, owned by Matthew Kaner and Dustin Lancaster, is the bar that started the small wine bar movement in Los Angeles and has been touted by Travel + Leisure as one of “America’s Best Wine Bars” and Esquire’s “Best Bars in America.” The wine program features 150 wines by the glass, but there is no wine list, so step up to the bar and describe what you want. The bartender will supply a couple of tastes from which to choose. There are eight rotating beers on tap, as well as small plate choices, including olive and almonds, mozzarella salad, cheese and charcuterie and flatbread. If you have more of an appetite, go for the croque monsieur or mac ‘n cheese. There’s also Side Bar, a private room for 50, and if you need a place to stay overnight, the nine-suite Hotel Covell sits upstairs from the bar.

PEI Mussels in lobster bisque at Belle Vie

PEI Mussels in lobster bisque at Belle Vie | Photo: @bellevierestaurant, Instagram

Belle Vie



Francophiles will feel at home at Belle Vie, a petite wine bar and bistro in West LA French chef and restaurateur Vincent Samarco opened this friendly neighborhood spot in August 2016 alongside his wife Chase, and chef de cuisine Cedric Nicolas. Take a seat at the marble bar with stained glass overhead, or in one of the red booths surrounded by artwork, piles of antique books, and objets d’ art. Drop in during the daily happy hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and enjoy select $6 wines and $4 beers. Sunday brunch is served from 11am to 3pm.

The wine list includes an interesting and eclectic selection of natural French wine and bubbles. The food selection is on the smaller side but it is choice, and supplemented by chalkboard specials brought to your table. Dishes tend towards local, organic ingredients combining French techniques with California influences, including seasonal soups and salads, seared tuna niçois style, PEI mussels in lobster bisque, slow-cooked pork belly, duck magret, and beef burgundy tacos (for that LA twist).

Burger Night at Esters Wine Shop & Bar | Photo: @esterswine, Instagram

Burger Night at Esters Wine Shop & Bar | Photo: @esterswine, Instagram

Esters Wine Shop & Bar



Part of the Rustic Canyon restaurant group, wine director Kathryn Coker and her husband, Tug, run this stylish wine bar and shop adjacent to Cassia that occupies a refurbished 1930s art deco building in Santa Monica. Come for a drink and a snack, lunch, dinner, happy hour— or on weekends for a boozy brunch and wine tasting from 3-6pm on Sundays—with menus by Chef Jeremy Fox. Sit at the wraparound bar, the communal table, or take a seat on the outdoor patio. Wine bottles fill floor to ceiling shelves, while collector wines occupy a private space. There are also grab-and-go food options, as well as whole bread loaves from Milo and Olive. Special events include the monthly Guest Chef Burger Night with prestigious chefs like Nancy Silverton.

Whole grilled branzino at Good Measure in Atwater Village

Whole grilled branzino paired with a glass of Vigne Surrau Vermentino di Gallura 2017 at Good Measure | Photo: @goodmeasurela, Instagram

Matthew Kaner, who was named among the Sommeliers of the Year by Food & Wine Magazine in 2013, is the sole owner of this Atwater wine bar/restaurant featuring California/French Country-inspired cuisine for dinner from Chef Mike Garber. The Mid-Century style setting offers seating at the long counter interior tables, or the exterior high-top counter. A global wine list offers 30 wines by the glass. To get up close and personal, take a seat at the small bar in front of the wine hold in view of the collection. For a small intimate dinner party, reserve the banquette inside the semi-private wine hold amidst the bottles. The food menu features shared plates from small to large, including lamb meatballs, crispy chicken confit, mushroom risotto, steak frites, and whole grilled branzino.

Damn Good Banana Bread at Hayden in Culver City

Damn Good Banana Bread | Photo: Hayden

Hayden



This sleek and airy wine bar and retail shop initially opened as an all-day eatery in Culver City’s architecturally eye-catching PLATFORM complex in 2017. Hayden has since transitioned into a full-service restaurant serving lunch and dinner daily. The change also included an interior renovation creating a warmer atmosphere featuring a six-seat bar, marble high tops, plush indigo blue booths, textured rugs, and greenery. James Beard Award-nominated Ari Kolender is the chef/owner and has created menus that merge California cuisine with European style. Most notable is the raw bar and cast iron "Damn Good" Banana Bread, as well as seasonal salads, bowls, and toasts. Dinner highlights include grilled king trumpet mushrooms, steamed mussels "sailor style," ricotta dumplings in nonna sauce, roasted half jidori chicken, and grilled Flannery Farms hanger steak. Don't miss Golden Hour (5-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday, all day Sunday) with $8 glasses of wine and $2 oysters. Beverage director Akari Yamamura curates the wine list, which includes natural and small producer wines.

Blue Crab & Avocado Toast at Marche Wine Bar in Burbank

Blue Crab & Avocado Toast at Marche Wine Bar | Photo: Juanita D, Yelp

Marche Wine Bar



The former Luna Vine Wine Bar in the Magnolia Park area of Burbank morphed into Marche Wine Bar (with a small retail space) in 2017 under the team from Silver Lake Wine. Sit at the long wood bar or at one of the smaller tables lining the wall. The seasonal dinner menu consists of cheese and charcuterie boards; and sharing plates that include the likes of roasted beets and arugula salad; herbed polenta cakes, vadouvan curried cauliflower, and blue crab & avocado toast. Choose from nearly 30 wines by the glass from $8 - $30, and an inventory of 200+ wines starting at $28. There is also a strong selection of beer, including vintage varieties. Be sure to check out tasting options for groups of 10 or more, and specials on the website such as the daily happy hour, which includes all day on Monday.

Beet spaghetti at Cento Pasta Bar in DTLA

Beet spaghetti at Cento Pasta Bar | Photo: @jenn_harris_, Instagram

Mignon



Memories of Paris will come to mind upon entering Mignon, an intimate wine bar and bistro in the Historic Core of Downtown LA—complete with wood and brick design and a midnight blue wall filled with framed paintings. The bar and small tables provide the perfect set up for conversation over select small production European natural wines and rustic French small plates. Owner Santos Uys (who also owns Papilles Bistro at Franklin and Vine) offers a wonderful pairing menu that includes charcuterie, cheese, pate, speck sandwiches, and escargot. Happy Hour runs daily from 6-8 p.m. with $6 glasses of wine and select food items. On Wednesday, Hump Day Wine Flights feature three wines and an optional cheese and charcuterie pairing.

Since 2015, Mignon has hosted the Cento Pasta Bar "lunch residency," currently Wednesday-Saturday from 11am-3pm. The freshly made pastas change weekly.

Escargots at Oriel in Chinatown

Escargots at Oriel in Chinatown | Photo: @dabito, Instagram

Oriel



Situated under the train tracks in Chinatown, Oriel is an intimate, contemporary French wine bistro courtesy of wine bar guru Dustin Lancaster (Bar Covell, Augustine). The unlikely location makes it a unique hidden gem with urban appeal. On approach you can’t miss the purplish exterior highlighted by a trio of neon-lit stripes. The exterior carries indoors with a palette of mauve and rose against painted white brick, minimalist hanging lights, an L-shaped marble bar, cushioned bench and chair seating with tables —all softened with hanging plants—and an attached small patio. Chef Evan Algorri’s classic French menu lists favorite dishes such as onion soup, escargots, steak tartare, croque monsieur, bavette steak, loup de mer, and pâté (duck in a jar), as well as cheese and charcuterie, of course. The wine menu features an impressive selection of well-priced French wines by the bottle or glass, including organic and bio-dynamic options. Also offered are a few beers on tap, champagne, and Lillet and Kir aperitifs. Open 5 p.m. until midnight daily, with happy hour Monday-Friday from 5-7 p.m., it’s a cozy dinner date night spot or a late-night hangout for conversation, drinks and a snack. 

Cheese board at Tabula Rasa | Instagram by @tabularasabar

Cheese board at Tabula Rasa | Photo: @tabularasabar, Instagram

Tabula Rasa Bar



Opened in September 2016, this neighborhood spot from Bestia alum Zach Negin and Daniel Flores is located on the western edge of Los Feliz bordering Thai Town. The moody, narrow space is filled with a long, wood bar opposite a leather banquette and tables. There’s also a small patio out back. Happy Hour is offered daily from 5–7 p.m. with weekly wine tastings on Wednesday from 5-8 pm. Enjoy live music and DJs on other nights. There’s a rotating list of more than 150 wines, as well as a good selection of beers on tap. The well-priced food menu is served until 1 a.m. Highlights include the Cuban sandwich, sausage plate, and three-cheese grilled cheese. Lighter eaters will enjoy the farro salad.

Truffle pomme frites at Wally's Beverly Hills | Instagram by@aaashishj

Truffle pomme frites at Wally's Beverly Hills | Instagram by@aaashishj

Wally's Beverly Hills



The most versatile and lavish of wine bar restaurants, this bustling Beverly Hills hotspot on Canon Drive is an extension of the original Wally’s in Westwood, which closed in September 2018. (A new Wally's retail/restaurant modeled after the Beverly Hills location opened in Santa Monica in October 2018.) Wally's Beverly Hills is an extravagant cheese, charcuterie, wine, spirits, and gourmet retail shop that surrounds an upscale, yet casual restaurant. The menu emphasizes French Provencal cuisine with extensive seasonal options for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, late night, and all-day Sunday. The 79-page wine list offers 150 wines by the glass, ranging from $13-$375, as well as cocktails and spirits. Sit at one of the wood communal tables amidst walls of wine bottles inside, or at a smaller table on the street-side patio. It’s the ultimate one-stop-shop for dinner parties, gifts, and a meal on the town.