Seven Great Champagne Bars in America
Bubbly was popped around the world this week in celebration of a (seemingly new) study about the health benefits of drinking Champagne. A two-year-old study in rodents seemed to possibly demonstrate a connection between memory retention and bubbly, and was vigorously revived by several publications including the The Daily Mirror. Although Snopes and the UK’s National Health Service have since debunked both the study’s newness and its radicalness—the subjects were, in fact, 24 tipsy rats, not humans—the fact that remains that Champagne and its less-pricey counterparts, including Crémant, Prosecco, and Cava, are delicious.
And the bubbly trend is a real thing. This week marks the third year of New York City’s Champagne Week. People are starting to seek out less expensive options to pair with low-end treats such as potato chips in addition to fancier caviar, truffles, and oysters. From coast to coast, bubbly bars are making their mark. Here are a few worth seeking out depending on where in our great, fizzy 50 states you are.
The Fine Mousse, San Francisco, California
French fries and Champagne? Genius. This new Bay Area watering hole offers duck fat fries with dipping sauces such as grapefruit-curry and yuzu pepper mayo. Sure, they have salads and soup if you want ’em, but the focus is clearly on fries and bubbly: A full seven options by the glass—most less than $12—and ten bottles dominate a tiny menu. So far—one yelper calls The Fine Mousse “like catnip to women!”—it’s been a hit.
Birds & Bubbles, New York, New York
Nothing cuts through crisp, wonderfully greasy fried chicken like a glass of sparkling wine. That’s the theory behind Birds & Bubbles in New York City, a chicken-and-champers restaurant run by Sarah Simmons, a Southern-born New Yorker with a penchant for the food of her roots. $65 snags you a half a fried chicken and a split of Champagne, but you can also order a bird a la carte and one of 46 bottles of bubbly.
Ambonnay Bar, Portland, Oregon
Featuring reasonably priced tasting classes, special events that pair Champagne with jamon Iberico and oysters, and a New Year’s Eve party with magnums aplenty, Ambonnay offers six to seven bubblies by the glass. A nice touch on their short menu? Truffled popcorn.
Le Caviste, Seattle, Washington
With a tightly curated, all-French wine list, Le Caviste shines for its reasonable price point—a Crémant by the glass for less than $10 is often on its menu—and a knockout French cheese selection. (Pair that Crémant or any sparkling wine with dreamy triple- crème Brillat-Savarin.)
Vine & Tap, Atlanta, Georgia
The ATL has had quite the food and drinks revival over the last decade, and Chef Zeb Stevenson of Atlanta hotspot Watershed on Peachtree pointed us to Buckhead-area favorite Vine & Tap, a wine bar offering flights (three bubblies for $20) and an impressive wine-by-the-glass list that includes five sparkling wines. Sip them with $1 oysters from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. nightly.
Eventide Oyster Co., Portland, Maine
Let’s not neglect one of Champagne’s classic best friends: the oyster. Eventide serves some of the best—and freshest—in the nation, along with an addictive brown-butter lobster roll. Look for 15 sparklers and nearly 20 super-fresh bivalves.
A.O.C., Los Angeles, California
A full 17 sparklers by the bottle plus four by the glass shimmer on the menu at A.O.C., Suzanne Goin’s renowned L.A. restaurant and wine bar. Stop in for a full dinner—Goin is a James Beard Award winning-chef—or tuck into bacon-wrapped dates or “Spanish fried chicken” with romesco aioli during the daily cocktail hour.