Never have there been more intriguing places to catch up with friends over a glass of vino. These Bay Area wine bars stand out for their unique selection, fun vibe and more.
Sit on a wine barrel at the bar and let the Spanish tapas and interesting wines of the world flow. If owner Jason Jenkins is pouring, spend some time downloading his encyclopedic knowledge of wine regions and styles — he’s got his favorites from around the globe and Sonoma County at hand — along with small plates of tuna paté or roasted artichokes with goat cheese. 122A Kentucky St, Petaluma.
A large charcuterie board and a glass of Regis Bouvier Vielles Vignes Marsannay Burgundy Pinot Noir would make a nice dinner, especially while ensconced on one of the cozy banquettes in the window at the recently opened wine bar in downtown Tiburon with a focus on European and Californian wines. 34 Main St, Tiburon.
Dog-friendly patio tables are Dogpatch neighborhood hotspots for caviar and pinot grigio at lunch or fried chicken and champagne at dinner. Owner and master sommelier Rebecca Fineman and owner and advanced sommelier Chris Gaither also offer classes and kits and a blind flight tasting every Thursday, just to shake things up. 2419 Third St, San Francisco.
Exclusively serving wines from Baja California’s Guadalupe Valley, this new entrant into the wine bar scene in San Francisco’s Richmond District serves more than 30 wines, most by the glass, such as a bubbly Espuma made with chardonnay and sauvignon blanc or a Bastardo made with montepulciano and mourvedre. Pair with a crab empanada or a braised duck with Mayan rice. 431 Balboa St, San Francisco.
Live music during select Saturday happy hours, 40 wines by the glass, including nonalcoholic options, and five flights available daily plus a tight menu of cheese, charcuterie and other nibbles are just part of the appeal of this Half Moon Bay wine bar that opens every day at 10:30 a.m. We’re partial to the chill, family-friendly vibe, too. 421 Main St, Half Moon Bay.
Christina Mueller is a long-time Bay Area food writer. She hails from the East Coast and has spent way too much time in South America and Europe. She discovered her talent as a wordsmith in college and her love of all things epicurean in grad school. She has written for Condé Nast Contract Publishing, Sunset, and the Marin Independent Journal, among others. She volunteers with California State Parks and at her childrens’ schools, and supports the Marin Audubon Society, PEN America, and Planned Parenthood. When she is not drinking wine by a fire, she is known to spend time with her extended family.