Varietal and the meet-up

A couple of dozen of us had a great meet-up at Varietal last night! About 25 people attended during our two very happy hours, including fellow NYC wine bloggers Terry from Mondosapore and Keith, the East Village Wine Geek.

Varietal is a wine restaurant AND and excellent, bona fide wine bar. I’m upgrading it to “a favorite” on my NYC wine bar map. Here’s why:

  • 75 wines by the glass. These aren’t any wines, mind you. They are really cool stuff. I’d be willing to taste them all–in fact I have enjoyed many of them already.
  • Great flights, seven flights in all, including even a Greek flight! All the glasses in the flight come with handy printed tags–excellent for keeping things straight.
  • The “master of wine” flight: three wines poured blind, guess the grape varieties and the flight is on the house. After being open for five weeks now, nobody has guessed them correctly (including yours truly). I have two words for you: garnacha tintorera!!!! oy.
  • An emphasis on freshness. Despite having so many wines available by the glass, the wines are well preserved. I had a glass of Nicolas Joly Clos Sacres and it was the last pour from a bottle opened a previous day. It was still very fresh.
  • Very cool bar. The countertop is a durable white surface–all the better for eyeballing your wine.
  • Knowledgeable staff! You would not know that it only opened about a month ago.
  • Spacious and comfortable bar area as well as a spacious seating area with Jetson-like chairs.
  • 200 wines on the wine list for the restaurant, including some bottles starting in the high $20s…I didn’t have the chance to dine there. Pending reviews from the Times and NY mag, check out Augie’s review who gave it 832 bazillion stars.

In all the meet-up was as fun as the place. I really liked meeting those of you who made it and look forward to the next time. Stay tuned for details. Maybe we can turn this into a slow pub crawl of NYC wine bars!

Varietal [map it]
138 W. 25th St., New York, NY 10001
between Sixth and Seventh Ave.

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8 Responses to “Varietal and the meet-up”

  1. Enjoyed it — good place too.

    Maybe this should be a regular thing!


  2. Sounds good to me! Someone suggested Wined Up as a future destination since it is also new. But we have sooooo many great places to choose from in NYC. At one per month, we’ll be going for a long pub, er, wine bar, crawl!

  3. “I had a glass of Nicolas Joly Clos Sacres and it was the last pour from a bottle opened a previous day. It was still very fresh.”

    Well, that’s no surprise; this is a wine that keeps for a long time after opening.

    All-in-all, I’ll have to check this place out when I next visit.

  4. Jack,

    That’s a good point. Another way to look at it is that they actually *have* Clos Sacres by the glass. How many wine bars in America can say that?

    Put Varietal on your list! Maybe you can join a future meet-up while you’re visiting NYC. All are welcome!


  5. Thanks fo rorganizing such a cool event! I look forward to the next. Varietal is great. Nice focused wine list and the interior design is really nice as well. How about that white bar surface and the bar stoools. Slick and retro.


  6. Keith- great to meet you! See you next time!



  7. I stopped in here on the first weekend that it was open. The back dining room looks like a pleasant, somewhat comfortable place to dine. The front however was cheesy and somewhat kitschy with it’s enormous and poorly printed grape-on-vine photograph. The chairs in the front wine bar area were hard white plastic, uncomfortable, uninviting. The worst detail was the bar area with it’s champagne flutes dangling from the ceiling, suspended by thick conspicuous fishing line. It looks like a college student just discovered wine and wanted to decorate their inhabitants accordingly.
    The wine however was delicious, if not over priced. Perhaps this is the point, to create a space that is both naive but experienced. The winelist is refreshing but the decor is retro-kitsch and dated. Perhaps that is the conflict that must exist in a restaurant in order for the food and the wine to shine.

  8. Varietal is full of surprises, the food is great and you will be able to taste some amazing wines.

    I will be going back!!!


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