Mon-Thu, 10am-10pm; Fri-Sat, 10am-11pm; Sun, noon-9pm
N, Q at Astoria-Ditmars Blvd.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
First-time visitors to Jolson’s may wonder what’s so special: It looks like any neighborhood liquor store, with shelves and bins of bottles arranged geographically, and then by variety or varietal as the grape demands. Browsing reveals the answer: Domestically, the selection is heavy on reasonably priced California reds (a recent visit uncovered a wine-magazine Shiraz for under twenty dollars); internationally, the French and Italian wines are nestled among a United Nations of wineries. Aside from the requisite Greek wines, there are representatives from Australia, Germany (including some terrific Gewurztraminers), and an especially strong selection from Spain. (Have the staff recommend a fiery Rioja in your price range.) The cheap grad-school shelves are in the back, editorially placed next to a temperate wine cellar, where the serious bottles are stored and vended, some individually but most by the case.