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Top Five Casual Wine Bars

Great grapes, without the pretense.


Black Mountain Wine House  

Black Mountain Wine House
415 Union St., at Hoyt St., Gowanus, Brooklyn; 718-522-4340
Manager Shane Smith's extensive knowledge of esoteric flavors leads even novices to scratch a standard-issue Chardonnay in favor of a Lebanese Cabernet. The Adirondack chairs on an unfinished front porch also make this a favorite neighborhood spot.

35 Canal St., nr. Ludlow St..; 212-475-5505
A small but potent selection of French and Spanish wines take center stage at this tiny, under-the-radar destination on the edge of Chinatown. Amid the neighborhood’s karaoke bars and underground lounges, Clandestino is a quiet breath of fresh air.

D.O.C. Wine Bar
83 N. 7th St., at Wythe Ave., Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-963-1925
The wine at this rustic Williamsburg enoteca with a Sardinian slant flows like Rheingold at a frat party. Which might explain why the ebullient, mostly Italian crowd hugs and chain-toasts one another late into the night.

5004 Vernon Blvd., at 50th Ave., Long Island City; 718-784-2350
Owned and operated by two Gallic expats, this Long Island City secret offers up a great selection of old-world, new-world and lesser-known vintagesóbut the carefully curated list still fits on one sheet, front and back, meaning it’s nearly impossible to make a disappointing choice.

Turks & Frogs
458 Greenwich St., nr. Desbrosses St.; 212-966-4774
Hospitable brothers Osman and Orhan Cakir converted a West Village antiques shop into this cozy wine bar in 2004, stacking their list with standout bottling from their native Turkey plus a revolving menu of Middle Eastern–inspired small plates.


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