From Union Square to Red Hook, Where to Buy Great Wine

Foragers specializes in organic, biodynamic and natural wines. Photo credit: Facebook/Foragers City Grocer

With family coming into town and a never-ending to-do list, stocking up on wine is the last thing on our list when we’re finishing up last-minute holiday preparation. We’ve made a handy map of convenient wine shops in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn — stop by and grab a New York State sparkling wine or a bottle of Owney’s Rum to spice up your eggnog.

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Atlantic Cellars
988 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11238
We go there because: Most of their wines are priced at an accessible $12 rate.
This sweet Clinton Hill shop aims to satisfy “the palate, the wallet and the planet.” We love their flat-rate wines — they’re doing great work to make wine buying approachable. They allow dogs inside, and they stock tons of Brooklyn-made spirits.

Astor Wines and Spirits
399 Lafayette St. New York, NY 10013
We go there for: A wide selection. 
In this 11,000-square-foot NoHo store, connoisseurs and the newly initiated alike can browse bottles of wine, sake and liquors. Known for their reasonable prices and huge selection, Astor Wines has pretty much everything you need.

Back Label
111 West 20th St. New York, NY 10011
We go there: To test how well we can navigate bottles by their back labels.
Back Label displays all their wines with the back label facing forward, the idea being that customers will focus on the wines themselves and not be enticed by smart marketing. With their quirky events calendar and super smart staff, this is one of our favorite wine shops in the city.

370 Tompkins Ave Brooklyn, NY 11216
We go there for: The beautiful store design and a strong sense of community.
Bed-Vyne Wine has a sister store, Bed-Vyne Brew, that we also love. With weeknight happy hours and a DJ every Wednesday, it’s a great community gathering space.

Bottle Shoppe
301 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11211
353 Graham Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11211
We go there for: Their great sake selection.
With two locations in Brooklyn, this little-shop-that-could is taking over Williamsburg. Stop by one of their locations to browse their organic wine selection or pick up a bottle from an up-and-coming small vineyard. They deliver with purchases above $25.

Astor Wines has pretty much everything you need. Photo credit: Facebook/Astor Wines & Spirits

20 W 16th St., New York, NY 10011
We go there because: It’s welcoming and accessible.
The playful name sets the tone for this shop whose slogan is “celebration not intimidation.” From the neon sign to the bright-yellow walls to the comical sculptures that crown central kiosks, this store is clever — but it’s also articulate. Wines are organized by location along one wall, stacked on industrial-grade steel shelves, backlit with glowing Plexiglas. Smart map-icon graphics designate the place of origin, describe flavor and suggest pairings, while central kiosks organize the same wines under themes from “Poultry” to “Green” to “Critics” and a category simply called “Explore.”

Dry Dock
424 Van Brunt St., Brooklyn, NY 11231
We go there for: Ginger Liqueur.
This Red Hook wine and spirits store offers outstanding value and high quality from smaller vintners, producers and importers from around the world with over 400 hand-picked wines with 50 priced $12 and under, as well as an amazing selection of spirits including over 75 whiskeys. Wine and spirits tastings weekly.

Financial District Wine and Liquor
120 Nassau St., New York, NY 10038
We go there for: Pappy van Winkle.
FiDi Wine and Liquor boasts the “lowest prices in Lower Manhattan,” though their selection also includes $24,000 bottles of Scotch and they stocked a $157,000 vintage rumored to have been quaffed by Winston Churchill and Dwight Eisenhower.

Flatiron Wines & Spirits
929 Broadway, New York, NY 10010
We go there for: Their thrice-weekly tastings.
Flatiron Wines & Spirits offers tastings almost every day, and the shop has been named a favorite of the Village Voice and Food & Wine for its thoughtfully curated shelves. They have an accessible selection of under $15 bottles, and we love their natural wine selection.

Foragers Wine Shop
231 8th Ave., New York, NY 10011
We go there because: We trust anything from Foragers. And it’s next door to their Chelsea grocery store.
Foragers specializes in organic, biodynamic and natural wines. Their smart staff can guide you through the difference between the three and make sure you go home with a bottle that satisfies your palate and supports environmental responsibility.

Mouth Indie Spirits + Wine Gallery is for those interested in the best of hard-to-find, from-scratch, American-made flavors. Photo credit: Mouth Indie Spirits + Wine Gallery

Free Range Wine & Spirits
329 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11201
We go there for: “Rare museum pieces made by legends and dead geniuses.”
Owned and operated by a former rock critic, Free Range Wine & Spirits doesn’t open before 1:00 p.m. and features ciders, spirits and wines. They stock hyperlocal liquors from places we’ve profiled like Cacao Prieto and Kings County.

Gnarly Vines
350 Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11205
We go there for: Their curated holiday six packs.
With a focus on small-production, sustainable or stricter, this Fort Greene shop offers regular in-store tastings and specials. Owned by Fort Greene resident Brian Robinson, the focus remains on great wine and accessibility.

Greene Grape
765 Fulton St., Brooklyn, NY 11217
We go there for: Proximity to their sister store, which has the best yogurt selection we’ve found in the borough.
A small wine shop favoring small producers and family wineries, you’ll find plenty of affordable yet high-quality bottles at Greene Grape. Steps away from their younger sister Greene Grape Provisions, it’s a one-stop destination for all of your food and beverage needs.

Heights Chateau
123 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11201
We go there for: Their Long Island wines.
This shop believes in the importance of professionalism, offering service that is friendly and knowledgeable without being intimidating. The staff takes the time to taste each and every product, making thoughtful selections that they can stand behind for their quality and value.

Indie Spirits + Wine Gallery at Mouth
192 Water Street Brooklyn, NY 11201
We go there for: Hard-to-find and up-and-coming craft spirits.
Like Mouth’s website — which went from stocking New York’s artisan products to covering the entire country and its territories — this store has blossomed into a one-of-a-kind shop, a must-visit for those interested in the best of hard-to-find, from-scratch, American-made flavors.

Back Label displays all their wines with the back label facing forward. Photo credit: Facebook/Back Label Wine Merchants

La Petite Cave
83 Maiden Lane, New York, NY 10038
We go there for: Larry’s encyclopedic knowledge.
Owner Lawrence Skrivanek presides over the tiny La Petite Cave, offering the perfect recommendation for any situation. The 700-square-foot shop is a neighborhood favorite, in part because Skrivanek updated his inventory to focus on $12 to $15 wines during the recession.

Leon & Son
995 Fulton St Brooklyn, NY 11238
We go there for: Friendly, knowledgeable service.
Leon & Son, the new family-run Clinton Hill wine shop, has already won us over. Their moderate price points combined with their expertise make them a welcome addition to the area.

Michael-Towne Wines and Spirits
73 Clark St., Brooklyn, NY 11201
We go there for: Their great selection of local spirits.
Established in 1934, this Brooklyn Heights fixture on the corner of Henry Street in the Hotel St. George offers a large selection of Brooklyn-made spirits, organic and local wines and free local delivery. The spacious environment is dog and baby-carriage friendly. Bonus points: They offer wine tastings every Thursday through Saturday.

Montague Wine and Spirits
78 Montague St., Brooklyn, NY 11201
We go there because: We can always get a great recommendation.
Montague Wine and Spirits is a small Brooklyn Heights storefront offering free delivery within the neighborhood. They regularly host tastings with experts — check their Facebook page for updates.

Scotto’s Wine Cellar
318 Court St., Brooklyn, NY 11231
We go there because: This lovely winemaker recommends it.
Scotto’s Wine Cellar originally opened prior to prohibition, on Hicks Street in Carroll Gardens, and then reopened February 1934 on Court Street. Their primary focus is on the ever-changing wine and spirit market. The store has a long history of serving the community and supplying their customers with outstanding variety and value for generations.

With weeknight happy hours and a DJ every Wednesday, Bed-Vyne Wine is a great community gathering space. Photo credit: Facebook/Bed-Vyne Wine & Spirits Shop

Thirst Wine Merchants
187 DeKalb Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11205
We go there for: 15 percent off bulk purchases.
Inspired by Alice Waters and Kermit Lynch, Thirst features delicious, food-friendly, thirst-inspiring wines that reflect what Italians call l’ambiente del vino and the French call terroir. Thirst offers free tastings every Saturday afternoon from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., making it an easy few steps from the Fort Greene Farmers Market in the park. To sweeten the deal, take 15 percent off all cases if you visit then.

Wall Street Wine Merchants
79 Pine St., New York, NY 10005
We go there for: Our lunch breaks.
Though actually located on Pine Street, Wall Street Wine Merchants keeps the Financial District crowd hydrated. They have a strong selection of single malts and bourbons, and they deliver to nearby office buildings.

Waterfront Wines NYC
360 Furman St., Brooklyn, NY 11201
We go there for: Natural wine.
Waterfront Wines & Spirits specializes in products made in accordance with local traditions, through sustainable practices. Their selections highlight classic production methods, including organic, biodynamic and natural wines.

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