Boozing with Class
Editor's note: Since the publishing of this article, laV has closed.
Wine is an art. It's a careful process with a rich history that must be preserved and cherished. Sommeliers train for years, mapping the lineage of various grapes and studying the intricacies of each varietal.
But its not always that way. Sometimes you just want to drink wine. And sometimes, you want to drink a lot of wine for not a lot of money.
So, while we certainly respect them, this isn't the list for wine enthusiasts looking to drop big bucks on their next bottle. Instead, this is for the rest of us. This is a look at the places in Austin where you can find decent wine on a budget and get a little buzzy — but with class.
Need a cheap night up north? Santorini offers happy hour every day from 5-8 pm and includes sangria specials, $1 off wine and half-priced previously opened bottles. Sit on the expansive patio (dogs are allowed!) or grab a seat inside and enjoy the warm, rustic interiors.
Is there anything more fun than grabbing a spot in this cozy bungalow and sharing a bottle of wine with friends? House Wine offers a specialty wine list in addition to some unique vino-based cocktails. (We have our eye on the new blood orange blueberry prosecco offering.) Expect a deal almost every day of the week at this South Austin hideaway, but it's hard to beat Monday night's 10 for $20, which lets customers choose a delicious bottle from rotating list of 10 different options or Sunday's deal which offers half-off any bottle opened the night before.
Butterfly Bar is the kind of tucked away place where you can put a real dent in a bottle of wine without judgment. Though the cocktails are superb and the beer list extensive, Butterfly Bar also has no-frills wine list listed by type of wine. (Really, who has time for a name? Just tell me what we're drinking.) Order by the glass or by the bottle and enjoy weekly happy hour specials daily from 5 to 7 pm and all day on Tuesdays.
This funky South Congress restaurant has a thoughtful wine list curated by Sommelier Rachel Wilson, one of Austin Chronicle's Top 10 Sommeliers to Watch. Stop in on Wednesdays from 7 pm to close and enjoy 30 percent off all by-the-glass bottles.
Hi Hat Public House
Looks like they don't call it "Wine Down Wednesday" for nothing. Like many of the bars on this list, Hi Hat Public House offers half-off all bottles of wine. Though famous for its beer selection, Hi Hat's wine program is impressive in its own right.
Monday blues are a serious and real affliction, so dull the pain with half-priced bottles of wine all day at Russell's Bistro. Take the opportunity to experiment with some of the restaurant's pricier bottles (the most expensive is currently a Napa Valley Pinot Noir priced at $45). Can't make it on Monday? Hit up happy hour all week for $3 off glasses of wine.
With a vino list like this, Winebelly certainly lives up to its name. Enjoy specially selected bottles for half-price on Sundays and Mondays. Make it a meal and enjoy $5 small plates during happy hour, which runs Tuesday through Thursday from 4 to 6 pm in the bar.
Can you have a wine list without Apothecary? Not in this town. Enjoy $10 off select bottles and $1 off all glasses of wine on Sundays and Mondays. For the "champers" champions among us, head to Apothecary on Saturdays where select bottles of bubbly are half-price.
Despite its name, Dive Bar is actually quite the opposite. Located in that nameless neighborhood between downtown and campus, Dive Bar is an exceptional place, no matter what your poison of choice may be. For the winos among us, head to Dive Bar on Wednesdays for half-priced bottles. Go early, grab a table and enjoy the atmosphere and beautiful artwork.
Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill
Let's talk about Moonshine. Moonshine is great, and it too often gets overlooked as a brunch place or a tourist destination — and that should end. First, it's always delicious and the drinks are always on point. Plus, sometimes you just want to get an order of popcorn and an ABW Pearl Snap without all the fuss, and you can do that here, too. Recently, on a cold, rainy Monday evening, we found ourselves sitting at the back bar while the bartender poured us four different wines to taste before we settled on a delicious Pinot Noir. With decent price points and knowledgeable bartenders, it's hard to go wrong at this downtown spot. During the week, enjoy happy hour from 4 to 6 pm with $4 glasses of house red and white wine. And since you're there anyway, you might as well order a couple of corndog shrimp for the table.
You may be saying to yourself, "I thought this was a wine list for the rest of us!" Rest assured, it is. Despite having one of the most extensive and well-executed wine programs in the city, laV recently announced it's offering half-off all wine in the restaurant. On Tuesdays and Wednesday from 5 to 7 pm, customers can order any bottle at laV for half the original price. The restaurant hopes the deal encourages patrons to order something they wouldn't necessarily consider, and with more than 7,000 bottles to choose from, you're bound to find something you like.