Imbibing at AOC is an experience for your senses. You’ll see an elegant, sparsely monochromatic set-up when you enter Suzanne Goin and Carolyn Styne’s 3rd St. restaurant. You’ll then be seduced the rich odors of cheese and charcuterie, including DOC-rated cheeses from all around the world. However, you’ll stay for the divine tastes of Italian, French and Californian wines. Make sure to try a glass from the origin A.O.C. is named for: Appellation d’Origine Controlee.
2. Bar Covell
There’s a good chance that you’ll be so overwhelmed with the décor of Bar Covell that you won’t immediately think to order a drink. Pages from an Argentinian dictionary line the walls, vintage cameras are stacked on shelves and an old-fashioned Indian motorcycle is suspended from the wall. But just like it’s interior, the wines of Dustin Lancaster’s Los Feliz bar are true originals, including AM/FM, a Syrah produced by beverage manager Matthew Kaner.
How can you go wrong with a bar actually inspired by California wine tasting? Exactly. Corkbar, located in downtown LA’s Evo building, serves 70 varietals by the glass and dozens more by the bottle. This low-key wine bar also serves up artisanal beers and farm-fresh fare for a true SoCal experience. Make sure to hit a Tuesday Tasting or Sunday Cellar Night at least once.
4. OC Wine Mart & Tasting Bar
If you live in Orange County and you’re a wine lover (snobs included) its a sure thing that you’ve got a thing for the OC Wine Mart. Located in Irvine, this shop is one of the most popular wine tasting destinations in Orange County. This is the first establishment in the OC to carry the Enomatic wine system, which allows guests to sample brands like Caymus, Opus One and Silver Oak. Pair your cabernet with a gourmet Gruyere and call it a day.
5. Primitivo Wine Bar
Primitivo has wines from all over the world–Australia, Italy, Chile, Spain, France, South Africa, Argentina and the U.S. — including local favorites like Santa Barbara’s Pali Wine Co. and Malibu’s Griffin Family Vineyard. In addition to the delectable Italian fare served, Primitivo also hosts events like wine tastings, ‘Sangria Sundays,’ ‘Thirsty Thursdays,’ and happy hour. Best of all, Primitivo is located on trendy Abbot Kinney in Venice — so you can shop until you drop after imbibing.