Los Angeles Wine Bars with Stellar Food
Go beyond cheese and charcuterie at these top 10 wine bars and restaurants
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 10 wine bars and restaurants in Los Angeles.
a.o.c. - West Hollywood
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. Goin and Styne 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. In June 2021, the duo flipped their Brentwood restaurant Tavern to a second a.o.c.
Over the years, the original a.o.c. 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. Goin and Styne feature similarly stunning wine/food menu pairings at their restaurants in the Downtown LA Proper Hotel and culinary offerings at the Hollywood Bowl.
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.
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 the weekend boozy brunch (11am - 3pm) and Sunday wine tastings from 3-6pm. 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 Ten Cent Tastings, Guest Sommelier Nights, Workshops and more.
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 includes two options for the chef's selection Cheese & Charcuterie boards; and favorites like Marche Meze, Smoked Salmon Toast, and Jambon et Fromage Panini. 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 night on Monday.
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.
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.
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.
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 more than 100 wines by the glass, ranging from $14-$750, 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.