Spirit Cruises Summer 2019 Leaderboard

The Best Wine Bars in Philadelphia

by Ben Lemoine on May 13, 2016 in Roundups

Photo of Tria Cafe by Steve Legato

Philadelphia’s wine culture is expanding in so many ways, creating opportunities for new wine bars to thrive and for established places to maintain an engaged clientele. In fact, the wine scene is growing so dynamically that we couldn’t possibly fit every excellent wine list into one article. Below is our roundup of wine list-focused, exciting by-the-glass programs in Philly right now.

In a city once desperate for serious wine bars, Tria Cafe rang the clarion bell loudly, and they continue to stay relevant and exciting in the advancing Philadelphia wine scene. A focus on education has always been central to Tria’s ethic for both employees and patrons, encouraging staff to cultivate and share opinions in a casual setting with a similar attentiveness and knowledge of a seasoned sommelier. “Fermentation School” classes, “Sunday School” specials, three locations, and a perpetual calendar of events help to set this wine bar empire apart.
Tria Rittenhouse Square (123 S 18th St; 215-972-7075)
Tria Washington Square West (1137 Spruce St; 215-629-9200)
Tria Fitler Square (2227 Pine St; 215-309-2245)
*Photo by Steve Legato


Tucked away on an Old City side street, Panorama’s unassuming locale belies its status as the Guinness Record holder for the largest wine preservation and dispensing system in the world. 150 wines are available by the glass, perfectly maintained by a state-of-the-art oxygen replacement system, the breadth and diversity of which is globally unparalleled. Dozens of wine flights help to orient any reasonably overwhelmed guest, and cozy Italian fare will keep you fueled for the marathon of drinking in store. (14 N Front St; 215-922-7800)
*Photo via Panorama


Wine’s internationality is the focus of this South Street West bar, the passion project of Anthropology PhD Jill Weber, who moonlights as a podcaster called “The Wining Archaeologist.” She pays special attention to underexplored Southeastern European and Near Eastern wine regions, her academic specialty, at glass pour prices well below the city standard. Monthly “Wine and History” tastings feature all of the stimulating content of a Penn Museum lecture, but with a much higher “tolerance.” (1525 South St; 215-735-1116)
*Photo via Jet Wine Bar


Close your eyes and picture a wine bar — Vintage is what comes to mind. Framed by exposed brick, wine crates, and local art, the dining room is dramatically lit by a vintage bottle rack chandelier. This backdrop (along with a menu of French-American bistro fare) makes for a Parisian noir vibe that is palpable and enticing. In the heart of Midtown Village with over 60 wines by the glass, this is a touchstone for wine appreciation in the heart of the city. (129 S 13th St; 215-922-3095)
*Photo via Vintage


Tredici opened with a bold agenda: to sell super premium wines by the glass in Philadelphia. With finesse, they’ve succeeded at making glasses of cult Cali Cabs and luxury Champagne surprisingly affordable by offering fractional pours and pricing at margins more generous than we’re used to in Center City. Bright marble, tall ceilings and polished service give this spot a grandeur in keeping with the wine list it impressively maintains. (114 South 13th St; 267-928-2092)
*Photo via Tredici


Fishtown has had a flurry of restaurant activity recently, and Root offers a refreshing Mid-century modern counterbalance to the farmhouse-industrial scene. Repping the classics, the wine list is approachable, affordable, and balanced, so transitioning from the surrounding beer bars doesn’t have to be an uppity proposition. This wine dominant program is a welcome addition to the bustling corner of Frankford and Girard. (1206 Frankford Ave; 215-515-3452)
*Photo by Drink Philly


Stalwart Philly Bartender Jonny Medlinsky may be known around town by his passion for avant-garde beer, but at his new venture, Martha, he’s putting substantial emphasis on local and natural wines. The sixteen glass pours are dominantly from Pennsylvania and New Jersey wineries, which effectively makes this the largest by-the-glass local wine program in the city.  A carefully curated menu of bar bites and Joe Beddia-approved hoagie creations gives Martha a cozy but sophisticated appeal. When the weather is nice, they offer bocce out back! (2113 E York St; 215-867-8881)
*Photo via Martha


Located at the northern reaches of Fishtown on the Frankford corridor, Fishtown Social is a new addition to blossoming cultural scene of greater Kensington. The menu doesn’t have many beer or cocktail offerings but does feature sections like “Rotating Rosés and Rieslings,” which are perfect for warmer months. Casual neighborhood vibes help ease this corner spot into the expanding frontier of Philly wine culture. (1525 Frankford Ave)


The wine program at a.Kitchen and its walk-up sidecar a.Bar has garnered national praise for its avant garde focus and depth. Dipping your toe in the cellar is easy and always exciting at a.Bar, where the list isn’t huge, but is in constant rotation, with a mind toward seasonality and progressive trends. “Magnum Monday” is a weekly feature you won’t want to miss, as it pours obscure labels in large formats. (1737 Walnut St; 215-825-7035)
*Photo via a.bar


Library Bar and Bar210 at The Rittenhouse
Lacroix may be the main event at The Rittenhouse but, in keeping with the restaurant’s attention to fine wine, the hotel’s two auxiliary bars are more than enough reason to visit. A jewel box selection of wines from the Rittenhouse’s cellar offers a taste of the great list available at Lacroix and plays to the classic appeal of taking refreshment at the sophisticated hotel bar. Come see what “New York’s Best Sommelier” is doing at one of Philly’s top wine destinations. (210 W Rittenhouse Sq; 215-790-2533)
*Photo by Drink Philly


Deep blacks and reds evoke the intensity of the bullfighting arena at this tapas bar from Mayors of Midtown village Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran, which features an impressive 30 or so sherries available by the glass. Enjoy your glass of wine with a portion of Serrano or Iberico ham shaved on the titular jamonera ham clamp unitasker. (105 S 13th St; 215-922-6061)
*Photo via Jamonera


Beloved gelato purveyors Capogiro have succeeded in making the transition to a full-fledged restaurant with this elegant Old City trattoria.  An Italian exclusive list focuses on country wines from Central and Southern regions, the natural culinary companions to rustic Neapolitan pizza in which they specialize. Reasonable bottle prices and an expansive menu of sharable dishes make this an inviting locale to explore obscure Italian varietals with friends. Don’t forget the gelati! (233 Chestnut St; 215-897-9999)
*Photo by Drink Philly


Zavino nails the balance of casual and considered with a variety of pizza options elevated by excellent ingredients and successful execution. To wash it down, order from their approachable, Italian focused wine list which offers generously portioned half and full-sized pours. Plus, both locations offer great vantages for weekend people watching.
Midtown Village (112 S 13th St; 215-732-2400)
University City (3200 Chestnut St; 215-823-6897)
*Photo via Zavino
Photo via Steve Legato

Tags: Wine
Recent Articles


How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

Behind the Bar: Bartender Barry (Johnson)

Behind the Bar: Bartender Barry (Johnson)

In this installment of Behind the Bar, we sit down with Barry Johnson, better known as "Bartender Barry" of Instagram and as cocktail catering special...read more ›

by Drink Philly Feb 9, 2022
Best Bars for Outdoor Drinking in Philadelphia, 2019

Best Bars for Outdoor Drinking in Philadelphia, 2019

Whether it's to enjoy the first warm breezes of spring or the unexpected sunshine of a crisp day in fall, Philadelphia is full of great places to drin...read more ›

by Drink Philly Apr 11, 2019
Victory Brewing's New Philadelphia Location on the Parkway Now Open

Victory Brewing's New Philadelphia Location on the Parkway Now Open

Victory Brewing Co just launched their newest venture right in the heart of Philadelphia, making the former TG...read more ›

by Drink Philly Oct 26, 2021
The Best Cocktail Bars in Philadelphia

The Best Cocktail Bars in Philadelphia

Here it is - the definitive list of Philadelphia's best cocktail bars....read more ›

by Drink Philly Dec 13, 2017
Philly Cider Week Returns This Year, October 26-31

Philly Cider Week Returns This Year, October 26-31

Cider fans rejoice because after taking a hiatus last year, Philly Cider Week is back for it's third year....read more ›

by Drink Philly Oct 14, 2021
 Victory's New Philadelphia Brewery on the Parkway to Open this Fall

Victory's New Philadelphia Brewery on the Parkway to Open this Fall

Victory Brewing Co. is opening its first Philadelphia taproom and brewery in the heart of Center City at 1776 ...read more ›

by Drink Philly Oct 12, 2021
Drink Philly's Red, White, & Blue Boat Party, July 1

Drink Philly's Red, White, & Blue Boat Party, July 1

Party on a yacht down the Delaware River in style with a three hour open bar, a dinner buffet, and a live DJ all included with your ticket....read more ›

by Drink Philly Jun 4, 2021
Local Winery Spotlight: Vox Vineti Wines

Local Winery Spotlight: Vox Vineti Wines

Ed Lazzerini says his goal is clear - to make world class wine in Pennsylvania. From the taste of it, he is well on his way. ...read more ›

by Drink Philly Nov 21, 2020
Where to Host a Private Event in Philadelphia

Where to Host a Private Event in Philadelphia

Whether it's for the holidays or you have a special birthday coming up, Philadelphia has some amazing options when it comes to event spaces. ...read more ›

by Drink Philly Nov 26, 2018
The History of The Boulevardier Cocktail - and How You Can Make it at Home

The History of The Boulevardier Cocktail - and How You Can Make it at Home

In this history segment, we take a closer look at a classic cocktail: The Boulevardier....read more ›

by The Drink Nation Nov 2, 2020
View all Articles

Sign up to get weekly drinking news, bar reviews, events and more sent directly to your inbox!