Unusual Wine Bar Offerings

Menus that take an unexpected turn


If you’ve been to a few wine bars, you’ve probably come to expect certain regulars on the food menu: assorted salumi and marinated olives; the requisite cheese plate; a selection of flat breads or crostini; maybe a pâté or two. 

While these are usually solid, reliably complementary choices to the wines on hand, it’s nice to mix things up once in a while and explore the more unexpected – yet equally delicious – eats that accompany your wine. We’ve come up with a list of of some creative wine bars across the country taking their food menus off-road. Check out some of the offerings and be sure to share your local favorites with us below!

Photo courtesy: scaredy_kat via Flickr/CC

Max’s Wine Dive – Austin, Texas

Classic dive favorites get a fun makeover with high octane flavor - and lots of fried stuff!

  • Nacho Mama’s Oysters (pictured): Crispy fried Gulf Coast oysters and garlic aioli on fried wontons with habanero salsa and cilantro
  • Pan Borracho (“drunk bread”): Torn sourdough baguette, prosciutto, and fresh thyme soaked in a savory white wine custard and baked with gruyere, mozzarella, provolone and grana padano cheeses
  • Gator Beignets: Premium Louisiana alligator beignets served with jalapeño aioli
  • Check out Max's Wine Dive here


Photo courtesy: Max's Wine Dive

Graffiti Food & Wine Bar – NYC

Bold, sweet-and-savory flavors give way to an eclectic menu reflecting the chef's colorful heritage.

Photo courtesy: gsz via Flickr/cc

The Purple Pig – Chicago, IL

With a motto like "Cheese, Swine & Wine," you're bound to have a deliciously fatty good time!

  • Pig’s Ear with Crispy Kale, Pickled Cherry Peppers & Fried Egg (pictured)
  • Pork Neck Bone Gravy with Ricotta
  • Pig’s Tails Braised in Balsamic
  • Check out The Purple Pig here

Photo courtesy: tachikoma via Flickr/cc

The Grape Tap – Wasilla, Alaska

Yes, it's that Wasilla. The Grape Tap makes use of its northerly location, incorporating fresh, local seafood varieties.

Photo courtesy: The Grape Tap

Vino – Honolulu, HI

Hawaii may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think Italian eats, but Vino marries the cuisine perfectly with available island ingredients.

  • Twin Bridges Waialua Asparagus Milanese: Roasted Hamakua mushrooms, local organic egg, shaved parmesan cheese and white truffle oil
  • Big Island Smoked Pork: Fresh home-made fettuccine, Hamakua mushrooms, Hiraoka Farms broccoli rabe, local organic egg
  • Check out Vino Hawaii here

Photo courtesy: Vino Hawaii

Reserve Wine Bar – NYC

Have you been to a Thai-inspired wine bar? We haven't either - but we're curious to see the various pairings for a cuisine noted for its beer-friendliness.

  • Khao Thung minced shrimp and chicken coconut relish on crispy jasmine rice crackers
  • Spicy Spinach Artichoke made fresh with tender artichoke hearts, chopped spinach and creamy parmesan cheese; served with warm toasted bread
  • Green Curry Pizza with green curry chicken and fontina (also larb pizza)
  • Check out Reserve Wine Bar's menu here

Photo courtesy: Reserve Wine Bar

Palate Food and Wine – Glendale, CA

Any place that enjoys a good food pun involving pork is an establishment we'd like to patronize!

Photo courtesy: Palate Food and Wine

D Bar Desserts – Denver, Colorado

It's a natural fit to end this series on a sweet note. Sure, you've probably enjoyed desserts at wine bars before - but D Bar Desserts takes it to another level. If you enjoy your sweets with a dash of humor, check them out.

  • Donut Tartar: bomolini, kobe tartar, tomatillo jam, secret sauce, serrano sliver
  • Booz-flay!: Grand Marnier soufflé, passion fruit beignets, passion-mango "sherbet"
  • Crapricot: creme brulee, apricot, chamomile, almond, tarragon, semillon sparkle
  • Molten cake thingy everybody has… (this one is steamed with a truffle inside): Valrhona Manjari 64% chocolate, summer cherries, Sicilian pistachio ice cream
  • Check out D Bar Desserts here

Photo courtesy: D Bar Desserts

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Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: Worldnav
    885287 13

    Hana, you need to check out The Wine Tap in downtown Belleville, Illinois. It's a cozy little place with a great wine list and and the perfect menu to accompany the beverage of your choice. And it's only about 30 minutes from downtown St. Louis.

    Aug 24, 2011 at 5:57 PM

  • We eat at Max's Wine Dive in Houston as often as we can. The Fried Egg Sandwich and the Kobe Beef Burgers are excellent. Taya always finds us a great new wine to try with our meals. The casual nature of the restaurant paired with good wine is a home run.

    Aug 24, 2011 at 7:24 PM

  • Snooth User: Hana Choi
    Hand of Snooth
    803609 935

    @Worldnav - Thanks for the suggestion, the Wine Tap looks right up my alley!

    @pastamom2011 - I'm dying to check out Max's Wine Dive - looks like they really take bar food up to a whole 'nother level! Please have your share for me until I make it to Houston. :)

    Aug 25, 2011 at 5:03 PM

  • Snooth User: StevenBabb
    Hand of Snooth
    296258 483

    good article... but only one mention from california? and its in glendale?

    and a mention of hearth and terrior in nyc... not that they don't get enough press already ; )

    Aug 25, 2011 at 10:22 PM

  • Another great new wine bar to check out is Grapes Wine Bar in Annapolis, Maryland. Fabulous wine list that changes weekly as well as amazing small plates.

    Aug 31, 2011 at 9:15 AM

  • Great article, Hana! You should definitely check out Secco Wine Bar for out-of-the-ordinary eats.

    Aug 31, 2011 at 11:20 AM

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