New Orleans is a city known for speakeasy cocktail dens and outstanding dive bars. But the depth and breadth of restaurant wine cellars embraces oenophiles, impressing on levels historic and nouveau. Not to be confused with the best wine bars in New Orleans, these wine lists are overseen by some of the best sommeliers, not just in town, but in the country. Whether your palate is educated or in need of schooling, ask the sommelier to weigh in. They will be pleased to help.Read More
19 of the Best Restaurant Wine Lists in New Orleans
Sip your way through these outstanding collections of vin
At Saba, the team’s goal is to connect guests with the restaurant’s cultural heritage. This happens through the cuisine, and through the wine. A rotating selection might include bottles from France and Italy alongside a Cinsault from Lebanon, a Pinot Grigio from Slovenia, or a Cabernet Sauvignon from Israel. Wine Wednesdays allow staff to sample, ask questions, and understand wine pairings, knowledge they can share with their guests.
Mister Mao is a global restaurant, so chef Sophina Uong wanted the wine list to follow suit. There are wines from places like Slovenia and Georgia selected because of how well they pair with food. There are skin contact whites, chilled reds, and unfiltered wines that are interesting and delicious. Figures the wine list is as adventurous as what Uong brings to the table at this Uptown favorite.
Curated by sommelier Chelsea Gober with input from management staff, the Toups Meatery list is organized by flavor profile and body style, with every major wine region of the world represented. Cajun cuisine is rich, requiring a focus on wines with nervy acidity or significant tannin. The wines serve the food at Toups and not the other way around.
Dan Davis, the sommelier who oversees Commander’s Palace’s impressive 2,600-bottle list, calls himself the “Wine Guy.” Davis is especially adept at translating a guest’s questions into the perfect bottle of wine for any occasion. A 10-time winner of Wine Spectator’s Grand Award, his list is elevated and approachable, served by the glass and by the half glass, allowing both seasoned and novice wine drinkers to experience and explore.
Velveteen Lounge and Restaurant
Looking to wine and dine on a budget? The 100 percent worker-owned Velveteen Lounge boasts wine options that are unexpected for a neighborhood bar and restaurant — small producers and natural options line the bar, with most glasses priced under $10 and all bottles on the list under $40. It goes hand in hand with the food — salads, tacos, quesadillas, empanadas, a burger, and more are all $13 and under. Co-owner Brendan Gordon says, “Everyone should be able to have nice things in a nice space.”
An entrancing array of wines are curated by sommelier Emily Walker, all offered as five or eight-ounce pours or by the bottle. Walker's menu delights from French bubbles and fruity reds to interesting whites from Spain, South America, and the Pacific Northwest. During the week, somm’s choice of flights are offered for $8 during happy hour, 2 to 6 p.m.
Commons Club New Orleans
Virgin Hotel’s Commons Club focuses mostly on old world wines from France, Italy, and Spain. F&B director Steven Rogers strives for balance, quality, and classic representation of varietals and a mix of imported and domestic wines. Nothing stuffy here, but there are definitely wines you won’t find at the grocery store on this list.
San Lorenzo at Hotel Saint Vincent
San Lorenzo in the Hotel Saint Vincent serves delectable coastal Italian fare from chef Laura Collins — not the usual Creole Italian that is typical around town. The wine list from sommelier Hugo Miller is equally inspired, with a strong Italian section along with a deep dive into French and American favorites. Even better, all bottles are half off on Mondays, sweet.
Pluck Wine Bar & Restaurant
With more than 20 years of experience as a working sommelier, including a stint at the now-shuttered Delmonico, Pluck founder Skye LaTorre knows that the best wines connect with the drinker’s curiosity, heart, and soul. Pluck’s carefully curated wine list includes 20-plus wines by the glass divided between bubbles, orange, pink, white, andred, with an encyclopedic list that ranges in price from $32 to $1200, with most vintages in the affordable mid-range category.
Le Chat Noir
At Le Chat Noir, chef Seth Temple stuns with upscale, technique-driven preparations of beautiful products: sunchokes, quail, hakurei turnips, and spiny lobster, for example. The wine list is equally curated, affordable but wide-ranging and featuring small, boutique producers from the West Coast and Portugal (as well as France and Italy) and lesser-known grape varietals like Baga, Ribolla Gialli, and Plavac.
Herbsaint’s award-winning list is inspired by chef Tyler Spreen’s seasonal French-Southern cuisine. The beverage director leans towards wines produced by farmers and winemakers with wines tied to the land and climate from which the grapes are sourced. White drinkers will appreciate the variety and the option for half bottles.
GW Fins has received the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence every year since it opened and no wonder. More than 55 wines by the glass encourages exploration. The progressive list is organized from light to heavy, with all reds kept at cellar temperatures and all white wines nice and chilly.
Focused on New World Wines, the list also dips into vintages from France, Spain, Italy, Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand, and others.
Winner of Wine Spectator’s “Grand Award” for 20 consecutive years, Emeril’s boasts a fabulous cellar of nearly 2,650 selections and 16,000 bottles collected by sommelier Johnny Slamon. In the Salon, guests can experience a rotating list of specially curated wines by the glass. Celebrate in grand style with private dining for 12 in the restaurant’s wine cellar, with its wine cask ceiling and walls of spectacular wine.
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Brennan’s wine director Braithe Tidwell leads a mostly female team that oversees a vast 14,125 bottle-cellar, including an impressive number of options priced at $70 and less. With a depth of choices from Burgundy to salute the city’s French history, the list pairs gorgeously with chef Ryan Hacker’s inventive Creole cuisine. There’s private dining in the cellar, which was originally a carriage house and stables.
When Rick Blount’s grandfather Roy debuted his post-Prohibition wine list at Antoine’s, he was one of the first restaurateurs in the country to bring American wines to the table, a move of support for the then-struggling industry. Antoine’s cellars have always had a French accent, and while that is still the case, New World wines reflecting what today’s diners are drinking are well represented.
Sommelier Molly Wismeier partners with CIA-trained chef Tom Branighan in this new French eatery on the edge of the Quarter, so that’s a clue that MaMou’s wine list is superb. Wismeier, who was wine and spirits director for Restaurant R’evolution, calls it her lifelong dream to have a distinctly curated, precise, and approachable wine list, with an emphasis on biodynamic wines and female winemakers. Besides her wines by the glass and house list, there’s a cellar list of rare and vintage bottles, with a Coravin wine preservation system that allows for glasses of hard-to-find vintage gems.
Sure, this swell champagne bar on the edge of the Quarter has boatloads of bubbly and cocktails made with sparklers — more than 200 bottles and 17 by-the-glass pours for your pleasure. But wine is also a focus, with the list curated by owner Crystal Hinds and front-of-house manager Edouard Majoie, who hails from the Champagne region of France. Although Effervescence offers some big-ticket bottles like a 1.5 liter of Inglenook Rubicon cab sav for $700, most bottles are in the $50 to $70 range. Chefs Brenna Sanders and Evan Ingram also cook up enchanting bites and small plates.
At Margot’s, the wine list is visual — a vast array of bottles are lined along the top two levels of the bar, marked with their (mostly reasonable) prices, inviting customers to inquire about options. Folks here are knowledgeable, so the best bet may be to simply describe what you’re looking for and let them run with it. Regardless, expect something fresh and different — after all, the house wines are natural. This spot emphasizes small producers, natural and pet-nat varieties, and skin-contact wines, and you can usually order a glass of any bottle they have.
Bacchanal Fine Wine & Spirits
Although always big fun, don’t forget that this Bywater outdoor music party is also home to a darn fine wine store and seriously good eats. The Bacchanal team favors Old World-style wines from smaller producers, selections that truly reflect particular regions’ terroirs. The up-front store is organized by region. Select a bottle and some charcuterie to be enjoyed in the backyard picnic area.