Syrah or Shiraz? Chardonnay or Champagne? Delicious wines abound. If you’re looking for help stocking your wine cellar—however grand or humble it might be—or just a fun night out, these superb wine bars from Andersonville to Lincolnshire will bring out your inner oenophile.
Chicago/Andersonville: In Fine Spirits
Retail and wine bar. Wines are offered by the glass and bottle, along with tasting plates of dishes such as lamb potpie and lake superior whitefish.
We Love: That the space is elegantly decked out in warm, neutral colors and the service is friendly and knowledgeable. In warmer months, there’s a lovely outdoor patio.
Go For: Wine flights (3 wines, 2 ounce pours):
- Grower Champagne
- Runaway Rhone
- Sweet European
Retail wine store. The newest addition to the Evanston wine scene is Sandeep Ghaey’s Vinic.
We Love: His focus on value wines from around the globe, Ghaey offers thoughtfully selected bottles at a variety of price points.
Go For: Free weekly wine tastings
Fridays, 5 – 7 p.m.
Saturdays, 3 – 7 p.m.
Wilmette: The Bottle Shop
Retail and wine bar hybrid. Central Wilmette has never been more hip since The Bottle Shop opened its chic doors offering friendly unpretentious sensibility with a manageable amount of wine. Racks are stocked with an assortment of reasonably priced small artisan wines.
We Love: The sit-down tasting area where you can try a 3-wine tasting flight, order one of over 300 bottles, and snack on crostini, aged cheeses and cured meats.
- Wine flights
- Complimentary wine tastings Thursday evenings and Saturday afternoons
Glenview: Flight Wine Bar
Globally inspired small plates combined with over a dozen wine flights make this former Glenview Naval Air base locale a nifty little spot. Wine director Adam Bloom shares his experienced palate with thoughtful and inspiring wine flights.
We Love: The Flight Wine Club, a monthly membership that includes two boutique wines and a quarterly newsletter with tasting notes and food pairings.
Go For: The 100+ wine bottle list, 60 of which are also served by the glass, spans the globe and the late evening menu gives bar food a new meaning.
Wheeling: Coopers Hawk Winery Restaurant
With four suburban Chicago locations, this concept winery-restaurant prides itself on pairing dishes from the elegant menu with their handcrafted wines. The weekends get packed, but they take reservations.
We Love: The tasting room, which showcases bottles from their working winery. Whirl through a wine tasting while waiting to be seated. It’s a near-Napa experience, except that the majority of wines here are under $20, a rarity in California.
Go For: A range of tasting flights or a create-your-own combination, is a great way to check out wines, which are available for purchase on your way out.
This charming wine café offers wine from South America to Washington State. Sip a glass or bottle of velvety 14 Hands Merlot or earthy Argentine Explorador Malbec off the 90+ wine list, while enjoying live music which is featured each night but Sunday.
We Love: They offer both light fare like chocolate fondue or a cheese plate and a selection of full entrees such as Pesto Shrimp Alfredo and Focaccia Encrusted Snapper.
Go For: Mocha offers a 15% discount on wines purchased for your home cellar.
Lincolnshire: Flemings Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
This steak and wine destination could be the best place in Chicago’s North Suburbs to explore American wine. With an emphasis on California wine, the 100+ wine list is poured by the taste, glass, flight or bottle. Go prepared to order by watching wine director Marian Jansen op de Haar present video overviews on wines such as Quintessa, Hess Collection and Gloria Ferrar at www.vinevoyage.com.
We Love: The menu is simple, but full of good wine-pairing options such as classic NY strip or rib-eye steaks, along with veal, pork and seafood options.
Go For: Fleming’s offers 30 wines for $10 a glass or less.