Where to drink GREAT wine in the DMV- Part 1
Calling ALL wine lovers! I have compiled a list of some of my favorite restaurants to drink great wine at, in the DMV. This is a longer part series, so stay tuned for the next ones! CHEERS!
1. Dominion Wine & Beer/ Falls Church, VA
Located in the heart of Falls Church City, Dominion W&B offers an expansive selection of craft beers and wines from all over the world. Sounds great right? Of course, who doesn’t love a wine shop? BUT- the more exciting part is that they recently (fall of 2018) opened up a cute & cozy restaurant in their upstairs area making them an awesome one-stop shop. They have 16 wines BTG (by the glass) that are on happy hour every day from 4pm-7pm and 1pm -7pm on Sundays! Talk about a Sunday Funday! Also- their ribeye with the chimichurri is to die for- pair it with the Darby Winery Purple Haze- you can thank me later. You can peruse their bottles downstairs, pick one (or 5 up), and enjoy it with your dinner upstairs OR take it home with you! Check out their website here
Amateur tip- get there early if you can because they get very busy upstairs, especially on the weekends!
2. Screwtop Wine Bar & Cheese Shop/ Arlington, VA
Oh Screwtop, how I love thee! I have been frequenting Screwtop for going on 10 years now and I have to say that their food/drink selection/service is always top notch. Located in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington, they offer wines BTB (by the bottle) in their shop along with a fine selections of meats/cheeses. They host free wine tastings every Friday along with a slew of other events (check out their website for the calendar). To top it off, they have a wine club with themed months (“Women Winemakers”, “You Had Me at Merlot”, to name a few) and the membership includes a pickup party each month! Their food menu is incredible- hello Buffalo Sliders and Truffle Mac- also, to take it next level, each food item has a wine pairing selection alongside it. Doesn’t get much better than that! As far as their BTG wine list goes, it is divided into clever sections based on varietal (“My Pinot is Bigger Than Yours”, “Cab Ride”, “Friends with Blendifits”) and this menu changes weekly! I cannot recommend this spot more! Check out their website here
3. Green Pig Bistro/ Arlington, VA
Green Pig is another Clarendon favorite for incredible food + an impressive wine list! (Both BTB and BTG). They are French/American inspired but their wine list is a delicious array from across the world. I was first introduced to my current favorite Oregon Pinot Noir, Whole Cluster, during happy hour here a few years ago. I probably would have never found it otherwise, so thank goodness they know good wines! I also like that they offer quite a few sparkling wines as well as Roses- you might not know this but many foods pair really nicely with sparkling wines (shrimp/shellfish, cheeses, salmon, desserts etc) and obviously it is a summer favorite! Green Pig offers Happy Hour during the weekdays which is one of the best in town, in my opinion! I also can’t complete this review without shouting out my favorite food item on their entire menu- the Bone Marrow Toast. If you’re a texture person, it might not be for you. But if you have a knack for trying out unique, funky, DELICIOUS foods, check out the bone marrow. It is seriously incredible!! Check out their website here
4. TRIO Grill/ Falls Church, VA
TRIO Grill is hands down one of my favorite restaurants for multiple reasons. They have a FAB wine list, incredible food and even better hospitality. TRIO is labeled as an upscale American bistro, but it’s anything but stuffy. The vibe is laid back, and the staff is super friendly and knowledgeable. Now- let’s talk wine! Their menu offers 20+ wines BTG, including some of my favorites (Locations “CA”, Belle Glos “Clark & Telephone”, Predator” Old Vine Zinfandel” and Sancerre Rossignole to name a few). They also have a pretty great happy hour Monday-Friday 4-7 (happy hour oysters + bubbly, anyone?). Their BTB wine list is even more impressive- offering 260+ amazing wines to enjoy with your dinner. The BTB list focuses on new world wines while maintaining old world respect. TRIO has also won multiple awards of excellence from Wine Spectator for their BTB list, which is pretty commendable! If you’re out for a special occasion and/or are looking to impress your date, check out the Dominus “NapaNook” on their BTB menu- highly recommend! Check out their website here
5. The Evening Star Café + Planet Wine Shop/ Alexandria, VA
Evening Star and its adjoining wine shop, Planet Wine, is located in the heart of Del Ray, which is a neighborhood right next to Old Town in Alexandria! If you haven’t been to Del Ray- it’s a must visit- great food, cute boutique shops, great coffee. Evening Star offers seasonal American fare food (much of their menu features produce grown on their rooftop and from local farmers) which is always refreshing to see. Their BTG wine list is separated into taste profiles (Light & Crisp or Sultry, Savory & Complex) which makes it appealing to a wide array of guests. If you don’t know much about wine or if you know a lot about wine, having the menu separated like that makes it easier for anyone to decide what they’re looking for, which I think is super helpful. Their BTB wine menu reflects anything you can find in their wine shop next door, Planet Wine. The corkage fee is only $10 which is unheard of in the DMV, so I think that’s impressive on its own. Planet Wine also offers bi-weekly tastings in their shop (Weds + Saturday) and also quarterly events (check out their site for more info on events- here for Planet Wine and here for Evening Star)
6. Lyon Hall/ Arlington, VA
Lyon Hall brasserie, located in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington offers French/German cuisine, an extensive craft beer list and a unique wine list. Lyon Hall is under the same umbrella as the equally popular Liberty Tavern, Liberty Barbeque and Northside Social- all featuring the same incredible food, drinks and service. Lyon Hall sticks out from the rest because their wine list (both BTB and BTG) is clearly crafted with thought and knowledge. They focus primarily on French wines, but also offer a great selection of California wines and Oregon Pinots (*insert heart emoji here*). They have 14 wines on their BTG menu, my favorites including the Grenache, Syrah, Carignan Blend “Château de Vaugelas” and their Grenache Blend Rose “Château de Roquefort”. If you are a chardonnay lover like me, check out the Domaine Des Gerbeaoux Chardonnay from Pouilly-Fuissé (on their BTB list). If you have not had a French Chardonnay- you’re in for a treat! Forget what you think you know about chardonnays, and check out a French one! They are seriously next level. Lyon Hall offers Happy Hour 7 days a week from 3-7 with discounts on their famous Oysters and Mussels, other bites, and select beers and wines for $6. Lyon Hall also hosts beer & wine dinners frequently, so make sure you check out their website here or social media page for more info!
7. Hank’s Pasta Bar/ Alexandria, VA
Located on the outskirts of Old Town Alexandria, this restaurant boasts delicious, hearty Italian fare paired with equally delicious big Italian wines. I am a sucker for a good pasta; my favorite meal has to be a rich, meaty pappardelle washed down with a nice, fancy red. This rustic, popular neighborhood dinner spot has all the above. They have 20 glasses BTG, and a huge BTB menu. If you are a fan of Italian wines, you have to check out this place! My favorite wines off their BTG menu is the Barbera from Asti and their Super Tuscan blend from Tuscany. They have Happy Hour weekdays from 4-7. Check out their website here