Wine bars have been sprouting up around Austin almost as fast as wineries have been expanding through the Texas Hill Country. This is a wonderful trend for folks who live and/or work Downtown; a nice drop of wine is never too far away. And given how crowded most of these places are, more will probably be opening.
It seems every place Downtown is offering some sort of happy hour discount, and the wine bars are no different, putting forth a cornucopia of discount delights for the 4-7pm drinker.
We left out restaurants, even if they have great wine lists, and bars, such as TRIO at the Four Seasons or III Forks to name a couple. Though some of these wine bars offer superb and inventive cuisine, this list is for places that are primarily for the love of wine.
Cork & Co. (308 Congress, 474-2675, www.corkandco.com): More than 300 different wines at retail prices. Take away or drink there with no corkage fee. Wines also by the glass and in flights. Open Monday-Friday, 3pm-12mid; Saturday, noon-12mid; Sunday, 1-10pm.
Crú – A Wine Bar (238 W. Second, 472-9463, www.cruawinebar.com): Extensive wine list with several brave international choices. Thursday is half-price Champagne night! Light food menu is well chosen to complement the wines. Open Sunday-Wednesday, 4-11pm; Thursday-Saturday, 4pm-12mid.
House Wine (408 Josephine, 322-5210, www.housewineaustin.com): A comfy old house with a brief but nicely chosen wine list, all at good prices. Happy hour is all day every day with two whites and two reds available at $5 a glass or $18 a bottle. Food is simple but geared toward accentuating the wine. Open daily, 3pm-12mid.
mulberry (360 Nueces, 320-0297, www.mulberryaustin.com): Like being on the Upper West Side of New York. Tight, crowded, and cozy, with good service and a nice selection of wines. Francophiles can find some bargains. The bar is open Sunday-Thursday, 5pm-1am; Friday-Saturday, 4pm-2am. Dinner is served daily, 5-11pm, and brunch is available Saturday-Sunday, 10am-4pm.
Taste Select Wines (202 W. Cesar Chavez, 478-2783, www.tasteselectwines.com): Forty-eight premium wines in an Italian Enomatic system, allowing you to buy wine by the ounce. Also a very nice selection of retail wines with a $10 corkage fee. Taste also makes some of the best bacon you'll ever have. Open Monday-Thursday, 11am-11pm; Friday-Saturday, 11am-1am; Sunday, 3-10pm.
Uncorked Tasting Room & Wine Bar (900 E. Seventh, 524-2809, www.uncorkedtastingroom.com): Gorgeous views of Downtown, a nicely chosen wine list, lots of wines by the glass, and an inventive kitchen staff creating delicious food. Open Monday-Friday, 3pm-12mid; Saturday, 3pm-1am; closed Sunday.