BOTTLE SHOTS | OPINION: The best wine bars coast to coast

One of my favorite things about traveling is visiting fun and unique wine bars in whatever city I happen to be in. In my opinion, a good wine bar sits at the confluence of several factors: a strong wine list with a clear point of view. I always hate it when I read a wine list and see the same mass-marketed wines I see everywhere else, but I love it when a wine list is full of interesting, well-priced options that someone took the time to study and select. A good wine bar should be comfortable and welcoming with -- perhaps most important of all -- a friendly and knowledgeable staff. For better or worse, I am absolutely the kind of person who enjoys striking up a conversation with my server.

With that said, where can we find some of the best wine bars in America? Well, here are some of my favorites (one in each time zone!).

Cadet Wine + Beer Bar, Napa, Calif.

Downtown Napa's Cadet wine bar holds a special place in my heart. After a long day of puttering around the valley tasting dozens of wines, I always enjoy ending my days here ... drinking even more wine. A great wine list with a laid-back atmosphere is all you need to have an excellent time.

Noble Riot, Denver

Denver is just a beer kind of town, which is what makes Noble Riot an even shinier hidden gem. With a focus on small producers who you're unlikely to find on other local wine lists, Noble Riot is a go-to for interesting wines and great stories about the people who made them. It's also known for its emphasis on education, so combine a visit with one of its classes or tastings.

Bacchanal, New Orleans

This 20+ year-old James Beard Award winner is everything you need for whiling away a lazy afternoon in the Big Easy: plenty of wine to choose from, a menu full of great food, live music, and one of the best patios in all of the South. The only downside is that outdoor tables can be hard to come by. Too many folks -- myself included -- know a good thing when they see it and are more than happy to spend all day sipping in the gentle breeze of a backyard fan.

Terroir, New York

One of the most OG (original gangsta) of American wine bars, Terroir, located in New York's Tribeca neighborhood, is a wine lover's Mecca. Owned by infamous wine personality and riesling proselytizer Paul Grieco, a visit here is almost a requirement for wine drinkers at any point in their wine journey.

As always, you can see what I'm drinking on Instagram @sethebarlow and send your wine questions and quibbles to

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