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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  • 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 488

    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. http://grapeswinebar.publishpath.com/

    Aug 31, 2011 at 9:15 AM

  • Great article, Hana! You should definitely check out Secco Wine Bar for out-of-the-ordinary eats. http://www.seccowinebar.com/gallery.

    Aug 31, 2011 at 11:20 AM

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