June 7, 2021

Try these 8 popular wine bars in Alabama

3.7 min read

Wine may be the most intimidating adult beverage. Ordering a glass or a bottle requires a dizzying array of choices—red, white, or rose; still or sparkling; organic, naturally produced, or conventional wine from more than a dozen countries and representing innumerable styles.

Wine bars provide a solution, with a large selection of wines by the glass and a staff eager to mentor. Most offer flights—samples of three or four wines following a theme or showcasing a single producer.

Food menus generally follow the concept of tapas, wine-friendly snacks and small plates like those popularized by wine bars in Spain. Elsewhere the fare ranges from fancy to stripped-down.

This guide pops the cork on popular wine bars from around the state.     

wine bar

Golden Age Wine (Birmingham)

Naturally-produced and sustainable are the watchwords here. The retail side carries an extensive selection of bottles from grapes grown organically and fermented using naturally occurring yeast. Golden Age also promotes wines made by women. Food includes hand-sliced artisanal charcuterie, burrata cheese, almonds, and warm Castelvetrano olives. Most of the wines retail for under $45.

Aviné (Birmingham)

Buy a bottle at Aviné’s well-stocked retail section to go or drink onsite for a corkage fee. The bar, with 18-foot floor-to-ceiling windows, offers more than two-dozen wines, plus cocktails and beer. At night, Aviné opens Magnums of exclusive wines, and pours reasonably-priced glasses. The menu nods to Spain, France, and Italy with tartines, small plates like smoked salmon rillettes, and make-your-own charcuterie boards.

Flight Plan Wine and Tapas (Huntsville)

Flight Plan specializes in wine flights. Sample the wines by the glass (six-ounce and nine-ounce pours), or buy a bottle retail and enjoy it there for a $10 corkage fee. Tapas menu includes cheese plates, snacks, naan pizza, salads, and small plates like empanadas, pan seared scallops, and beef and pork stuffed meatballs. Food is served for lunch and dinner.

Firehouse Wine Bar and Shop (Mobile)

Located in a former firehouse, the selection at Firehouse Wine Bar leans heavily toward “Southern” wines from South Africa, South America, Australia, and New Zealand. Firehouse stocks more than 300 wines in its retail shop, and serves wines by the glass from behind its 24-foot copper bar. Wine flights, which change weekly, are announced on Firehouse’s website and social media. Its modest menu includes a cheese platter, flatbreads, dips, pickled veggies, nuts, or olives.

Taste (Montgomery)

Taste and its sister location, Taste Too, bill themselves as casual havens for good times and live music. Multiple wine-flight options include three pours; the vertical port wine flight samples four age expressions from Taylor Fladgate — 10-year, 20-year, 30-year, and 40-year. Tapas-style food included Spanish-style meatballs, crab cakes, smoked trout, and oysters Rockefeller. The menu also includes salads, small plates including short rib pasta alfredo, seafood and entrees.

The Wine Market (Tuscaloosa)

Opened last year by the owner of Central Mesa (which is next door), Avenue Pub, and Cravings in T-Town, The Wine Market sells 20 affordable wines by the glass or bottle to drink there in a comfortable and airy setting, and stocks more labels for bottle service or to go. A modest menu features charcuterie boards, baked brie or feta cheeses, and baked almonds.

Carriage Wine and Market (Florence & Sheffield)

It’s a one-stop shop for wine, craft beer, gourmet groceries, and cut flowers. The wine bar pours mostly five-ounce and nine-ounce glasses; retail bottles can be opened for a $10 corkage fee. Wine flights (four pours) change weekly. Also serves wine-based aperitifs like Amaro, and wine cocktails including Kir Royale, Mimosas. The menus at each location are built around cheese, charcuterie, and smoked fish.

Cork and Crust Pizzeria and Wine Bar (Madison)

More than a typical pizza and pasta place, Cork and Crust lays claim to employing the only certified sommelier in Madison. Its three-dozen wines mainly hail from Europe and the United States. Most pours are $10 and under and bottles below $40. Brick-oven pizzas are made with imported Italian flour and the pasta is house-made. The menu also offers sandwiches, salads, entrees like short rib stroganoff gnocchi, and appetizers like meatballs in sauce.

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