As you might imagine Bordeaux is filled to the brim with wine bars – and trust me there is one for every personality, budget and palate. Here are three of my favorites to start with. I will continue to post new hotspots every week and will soon include a wine map for those looking to visit – and taste in Bordeaux.
(click on the map to see a video of the three bars- view in full screen for best results)
LE WINE BAR
Où: 19 Rue des Bahutiers. Tramway Place de la Bourse Quand: Open Tuesday to Saturday, from 12:00- 2:00pm and 6:30pm to midnight Sélection de Vins: 260+ wines from around the world with a large offering from Italy
Owned by two charming Italians, this wine bar is an excellent location to enjoy a glass on an outdoor terrace.
Perhaps one of the reasons why I love this place so much is the people who run it. The first time I met the owner Giancarlo, a Venetian native, he asked me where I was from. When I responded ‘Arizona’ he came towards me and gave me a big bear hug – not a common occurrence in France. Turns out the Italian realized his childhood fantasy of being a cowboy at an authentic Dude Ranch in my home state – and he is still smiling about it to this day.
But beyond bear hugs and good Italian charm, this wine bar has a lot to offer. Located in the center of town near Place St Pierre winego-ers can enjoy the terrace and a selection of over 260 wines from all over the world. Many of their bottles are sourced from France, but there is also a sizable selection from the two owners’– Giancarlo and Emmanuel – home country of Italy.
The Italian Cowboy
Due to its liquor license the bar is required to serve food with its selection of wines. A nice spread of Italian cheeses, fois gras, magret de canard and regional delicacies- as well as a to-die-for dessert menu accompany the wine list.
The cozy interior can be enjoyed in the winter months, but Le Wine Bar is a great spot once the sun starts shining in Bordeaux (it will come back…. I hope…) and outside seating becomes prime Real Estate.
BAR A VIN DU CIVB
Où: 3, Cours du XXX Juillet. Tramway: Grand-Théâtre / Quinconce Quand: Monday to Saturday, 11am – 10pm Sélection de Vins: Large selection of Bordeaux wines that rotates regularly
This is the place to come if you want to learn about Bordeaux wines – that is the whole idea behind the bar. Opened in 2006 by the CIVB (Conseil Interprofession de Vins de Bordeaux — aka ‘The Bordeaux Wine Council’) the bar serves as a base to educate curious consumers.
The menu –updated every several weeks- includes a generous selection of Bordeaux reds, dry and sweet whites, rosés, clairets and sparkling wines served by the glass. Each wine is served with its own explanation card by gracious sommeliers. The prices are quite friendly as well.
The Bar à Vin is located on the ground floor of the Maison du Vin de Bordeaux, the headquarters of the CIVB in the 18th Century building, known as the Hôtel Gobineau. The bar has several elegant seating areas designed by architect Françoise Bousquet and is adorned with beautiful stain glass windows and a small outdoor patio in the summer. As the goal is education and not to gather a crowd there is a seating-only policy — try to arrive early or you will wait in line.
A tip: If you ask to have a ‘flight’ of your wine selection – they will give you a half pour. This is a great way to try several selections on the menu.
Click here for a Visual Tour
WINE & SOUL
Où: 23 rue du Couvent. Tramway: CAPC/ Paul Doumer Quand: Open for lunch Wed-Fri from 12-14 and Tues-Sat starting at 7pm Sélection de Vins: Selection of 250+ French and International wines
You don’t usually place ‘Wine Bar’ and ‘Funk’ in the same sentence, but that is the combination that Wine & Soul pulls off in style.
Wine & Soul offers free concerts monthly
This wine bar located in the Chartrons district of Bordeaux is a good place to go for a glass of wine after work. The groovy, unpretentious atmosphere is refreshing as is their copious wine list of French and International selections.
I have yet to eat lunch or dinner here, but the aromas coming from the kitchen during my last visit will bring me back shortly to this somewhat hidden locale. I am also intrigued by the kitchen’s ‘Surprise Menu’, which includes a ‘Mis-en-Bouch’, main dish and dessert (Chef’s Choice) for 25 Euros.
Living up to its name, Wine & Soul also offers free concerts once a month hosting rock, jazz, soul and French music.
Their next concert will be held on May 18th featuring Sambatudo, an Afrobrésilienne group.
Click here to see upcoming concerts.