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NYC Wine Bars 2008

Fat Guy

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Considering most wine bars serve wines by the glass, it makes sense that they'd be part of the small-plates trend. You can order a tasting of some wine as well as the food that's associated with it without needing a full-blown meal or bottle. This educates folks as to how certain wines taste with certain foods, and it's always nice to think you're learning something as you drink and eat!

And indeed, it makes sense on an economic basis to open a small place instead of a full-blown restaurant.

When is the article coming out? I'd love to see it.

Cheers! :cool:

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Are wine bars NOT part of the "small plates" trend?

Zagat.com now lists 64 wine bars in New York City, though curiously it lists them in the nightlife survey not the restaurant survey.

That's interesting because, at Bar Boulud, it sure seems like the hostess sizes you up before telling you whether or not anything might be available. Add a large fellow with an earpiece and you have a club.

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  • 4 weeks later...

A couple of recent articles about wine bars, one from the New York Times and the other from the Wall Street Journal:

Eric Asimov did a piece titled "Wine Bars Grow Up and Squeeze In." It's a sweeping examination of the New York wine-bar scene, well worth reading if you're interested in this subject. In addition to discussing quite a few wine bars, Asimov reports on the economic and cultural aspects of the phenomenon. This quote from Paul Grieco of Terroir sums up the economics pretty well:

. . . crucial to the latest wave of wine bar openings has been the soaring cost of opening a restaurant in New York City.

“Economics is the overriding factor,” said Mr. Grieco, an owner of Hearth and Insieme, who just opened Terroir on East 12th Street. “A wine bar can fit into a footprint that a restaurant couldn’t. The cost of real estate, the cost of labor, all the equipment that you need to get a restaurant up and going: a wine bar allows an aspiring restaurateur entree without breaking the bank.”

Another story, in the Wall Street Journal (by the Journal's wine-columnist team) focuses on Washington, DC, but contains a lot of general observations and advice about wine bars as well. The story is here. Moderately worth reading.

The wine bars story I did for Crain's is, unfortunately, not available for free online.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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