Friday night dates are something my husband and I try to stick with on a weekly basis. We plan for them by lining up regular childcare and booking reservations in advance. If it’s on the calendar, we are less likely to blow it off. Because we’re prone to #netflixandchill, it’s nice that we get out into different corners of the city, get dressed up for each other, and experience something new. In narrowing down favorite wine bars to recommend, I tried to stay away from the obvious and cover places that you might not have been to yet…perhaps it’s relatively new or maybe it’s tucked in a neighborhood that’s off the beaten path.
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Perfect for dates with the hubs, after-work drinks, girls night, and more — here is a line up of some of Austin’s best wine bars.
- Baretto (Arboretum): This is a place I’ve driven past many times and I’m so glad to have discovered this gem in the Great Hills/Arboretum area. The menu has a selection of small plates and meat & cheese boards but you can also order from Brick Oven next door — a pizza shop that’s been an Austin staple since 1982. Same owners, actually…Baretto is classic ATX: local & family-owned. Ask for a taste of the owner’s homemade Limoncello after your meal! Happy Hour everyday from 4-7 with a lively neighborhood atmosphere.
- Cru (Domain): Serving shoppers, passer-by, tourists and local residents alike, Cru has been in the Domain since the very beginning, 11 years now. Other wine bars have come & gone in the area, but they are the original & only wine bar in the Domain. Yes, they are a wine bar with full food (menu changes seasonally), and there are beer selections too. My favorite thing is their large patio with 25-30 seats for people-watching when the weather turns nice. Their Happy Hour food is legit, serving smaller portions of regular menu offerings. –Don’t miss the Goat Cheese Beignets! Thursdays are popular for Girls’ Night groups, popping bottles for half-price from 4 p.m. to close.
- Sloan & Parker (Steiner Ranch): Playfully referring to themselves as the “Burb Bar,” Sloan & Parker opened in Nov. 2018 and checks all the boxes for Steiner Ranch-area parents who enjoy a glass of wine. They hold girlfriend gatherings & mom meet-up nights called “Sip in Sweats.” –Done once a quarter, simply come as you are because it is known as mom’s night to relax. Family Fun Day is on Sunday afternoons, when kids are welcome & there’s a movie playing for them on the TV. They are a retail wine store, too, with 30-40 wines by the glass and 200-300 bottles available for sale at retail.
- The Austin Winery (South Austin): Continue down on SoCo past Ben White and you come to a unique development called The Yard. A local business ‘row’ made up of a winery, coffee shop, cocktails, sake, whiskey, and brewery. –A place to try all different types of drinks without having to walk too far. The Austin Winery is The Yard’s wine destination and they’ve been making it for 6 years now. Three years ago, they went 100% Texas fruit. They specialize in the wine-making process and it’s all made in-house…everything arrives from various regions of the state on-stem as whole berries & clusters. All of their wines are Vegan, and they do not add sulfites.
- APT 115 (Eastside): What sets APT 115 apart is the knowledge base of their staff. They are able to curate an experience and walk you through their menu. You’ll likely need the guidance, too: wine selections are small-batch, uncommon, and perhaps even a little weird. However, they have a rich history & great stories to tell behind each producer. Yes, expect to arrive & hear the story behind your glass and leave having learned something new about wine. Paper menu of wines by the class changes daily. Happy Hour: 5 – 6 p.m. everyday for $5 off anything on the printed list.