Our favorite wine bars in the West

Following is a list of our favorite wine bars in the West broken down by the following regions: Northern California, Southern California, Northwest, Southwest, and Mountain States.

Northern California


Carpe Vino. A wine bar and retail shop specializing in wines of the Sierra foothills, tucked into a cozy, Gold Rush–era brick building. Well-priced flights change weekly. Limited food, but you can order in appetizers from the neighboring restaurant. Closed Mon–Tue. 1568 Lincoln Way; 530/823-0320. ―Charity Ferreira


Andalu. This small-plate restaurant with a stylish bar has an excellent wine program. The flights are carefully thought out, with generous pours. Tasty bar snacks (try the roasted pimentón cashews). 3198 16th St.; 415/621-2211.

A16 Restaurant and Wine Bar. The southern Italian menu and owner-sommelier Shelley Lindgren's unique Italian wine list are equal draws at this sleek wine bar–restaurant. Wines are offered by the glass or half-carafe to encourage adventurous pairing. Closed Tue. 2355 Chestnut St.; 415/771-2216.

Bacar Restaurant and Wine Salon. A legendary book-length wine list, elegant downstairs wine salon, and eclectic California Mediterranean menu make this one of the city's most popular destinations for enjoying wine with food. 448 Brannan St.; 415/904-4100.

First Crush Restaurant, Wine Bar & Lounge. The all-California wine list at this intimate theater district restaurant–wine bar includes many small-production wines and unusual varieties. The fresh, seasonal menu has a California flair. 101 Cyril Magnin St.; 415/982-7874.

Hayes & Vine Wine Bar. This Hayes Valley pioneer remains one of the city's most soigné places to taste wines by the glass (the list of 40 changes every Monday) and nibble cheese or charcuterie. 377 Hayes St.; 415/626-5301.

Incanto. The wine and atmosphere are both Italian at this sophisticated neighborhood restaurant–wine bar. Wines come in tastes, glasses, and half-liters, plus several flights; the "mystery flight" makes fun guesswork. Closed Tue. 1550 Church St.; 415/641-4500.

Nectar Wine Lounge. Spare decor and a packed bar in the Marina district, with a good, if whimsically described, list of wines for tasting. Closed Sun. 3330 Steiner St.; 415/345-1377. ―C.F., Amy McConnell, Kate Washington


Soif. This downtown wine bar and retail shop pours more than 50 wines by the glass or 2-ounce taste. Suggested pairings on the eclectic menu can be sublime, like marinated Monterey Bay sardines with a crisp French Sauvignon Blanc. Closed Sun. 105 Walnut Ave.; 831/423-2020. ―C.F.


Willi's Wine Bar. The vibe is relaxed and sophisticated, the small-plate menu is eclectic (in a good way) and tasty, and the extensive wine list is available by the half-bottle, glass, and 2-ounce taste. Closed Tue. 4404 Old Redwood Hwy.; 707/526-3096. ―C.F.


Va de Vi Bistro Wine Bar. Globally influenced small plates accompany more than 40 wines by the glass and fun, thoughtful flights at this new spot in the heart of the downtown shopping area. Don't miss the garlicky pommes frites with parsley and olive oil. 1511 Mt. Diablo Blvd.; 925/979-0100. ―C.F.

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