Cheese, charcuterie, and tinned fish demand to be washed down with wine. Haley.Henry in Downtown Crossing has all of it in spades, despite the wine bar’s shoebox size. The small space is made up primarily of bar and counter seating—but it boasts plenty of room for exploration. The menu nudges quaffers to try something new with a wine list focusing on small-production wines made around the world the natural way, and there’s an incentivizing option to order anything by the half-bottle. Local wine lovers also have founder Haley Fortier and crew to thank for the Fenway neighborhood’s vin spot, Nathálie.
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Charcuterie or oysters, a long countertop, and lively conversation with friends and strangers: The common element connecting them all is wine. Our city is known for pubs and beer, but Boston has no shortage of fine wine bars, either. Here are the seven best wine bars in Boston for sipping and snacking.
Spoke is that rarest of restaurant stories: an establishment that closes only to re-emerge as an authentic but updated version of its former self. This Davis Square wine bar shuttered in December 2016 after three years in service, but was resurrected six months later by former employee Mary Kurth and has been going strong ever since. The small, narrow dining room is forever enlivened by vibrant jungle-print wallpaper, and it’s always home to dozens of by-the-glass offerings with a European concentration, and farm-focused small plates.
At his restaurants Committee and GreCo, Demetri Tsolakis shares familiar but fresh Greek fare such as Artichoke Moussaka and Lamb Gyros. Krasi, which the restaurateur debuted in 2020 and which is named the Greek word for “wine,” features less-explored meze of Greece, from homemade breads and Greek charcuterie to seafood crudo and grilled dishes. To evoke the warm hospitality of off-the-beaten-path Mediterranean destinations, the Back Bay taverna pairs it all with an exciting selection of natural wines from Greece.
Taberna de Haro
For more than 20 years, Taberna de Haro has bestowed upon Brookline authentic Spanish cuisine and an unparalleled lineup of the nation’s wines. Honors like being named a James Beard Award nominee for Outstanding Wine Program and inclusion among Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Wine Lists in America are earned for chef-sommelier-owner Deborah Hansen’s curation of more than 300 Spanish bottles (and a dozen different sherries). But our favorite feature might just be the evocative descriptions listed—think: “joyful dark red fruits,” and “apple blossoms and whisper-light refreshment”—to help guide our selections.
This cozy, communal spot outside of Porter Square in Cambridge is the second act for both Rebel Rebel and Field & Vine, two wine and hospitality luminaries in Somerville. Dear Annie puts small-production wines at the forefront: Bottles decorate the room, and curious oenophiles are encouraged to ask bartenders for suggestions and samples. Chef Andrew Brady’s pescatarian small plates—such as cured seafood sets, a Very Crunchy and Herby Salad with an irresistible tahini dressing, and a must-order $11 pair of Caviar Deviled Eggs—are crafted with sustainable ingredients and labor to complement the wines; and the casual service model trains and pays all staff equally.
Set in an eclectic local marketplace and named for a Bowie song, Rebel Rebel is a natural wine bar with an unabashed attitude. Women run this intimate boîte—20 seats indoors, 20 seats outdoors—and use their platform to share the stories, sips, and struggles of winemakers, farmers, and associated folks. The ever-changing list curated by owner and former Oleana somm Lauren Friel is filled with labels you may not recognize but won’t hesitate to order again. Snacking is limited to a cheese plate with Spanish potato chips, olives, and beef jerky, but you’re free to bring in food from any of Bow Market’s many vendors.
The Koji Club
This new bar at Brighton’s Charles River Speedway celebrates all things sake, a fermented rice beverage whose brewing process is, for the record, more akin to making beer. But The Koji Club is an intimate wine bar in spirit: Overseen by certified sake sommeliers whose mission in life is to demystify this nuanced drink, the curated list spans the spectrum from effervescent and floral to rich and fruity. Bar snacks are thoughtful, like a Japanese curry empanada made exclusively by future-neighbor Super Bien, and the family-recipe Candy’s Cukes served with white rice. There’s a disco ball and an outdoor patio, and a karaoke TV for special occasions. On Sundays, Boston’s first sake bar hosts ticketed sake tastings.
This wine bar with feisty and feminine decor (like the letterboard above the open kitchen imploring us to “Keep Fenway Natty”) is a departure from the divey sports pubs that used to populate the neighborhood around Boston’s baseball stadium. But Nathálie is a prime pre- or post-game in her own way: Dishes like rosemary Panisse Frites with kimchi remoulade and Endive Salad with boquerones are simple yet exciting when matched with a lineup of natural wines mainly made by women. Like sister-spot haley.henry, Nathálie also makes her wine list entirely available by-the-glass so long as you commit to two pours (even the grower Champagnes).
Eric Twardzik contributed reporting.