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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Wine bars in France -

Bar à Vins, Bistrot à Vins,  Cave à Manger, Winestub.
Wine bars France.
Behind the French Menu 
Winestub is the name for a wine bar in the régions of Alsace and Lorraine.
A wine shop is a Magasine de Vins or a Cave du Vin

 A Bar a Vins.
Photograph courtesy of  tnarik.
    French wine bars have different formats for offering the wines they sell, and they work hard to earn, and keep, their reputations.  Hotels’ concierges and guide books may point out wine bars that specialize in offering wines from specific areas as well as those which are, in reality, small restaurants.  Certain wine bars offer weekly or monthly targeted changes in their offered wines along with local favorites.  Among the many wine bars quite a few are well known for the food they serve, some have truly excellent menus even if they only have a few tables, and at lunch and evening hours may be completely booked.  For many popular wine bars a reservation is required.
Wine bar offerings.
Photograph courtesy of In Praise of Sardines.
    Over the last few years, more and more wine bars are emphasizing their food offerings, they are close to or are restaurants  and calling themselves a cave à manger.  Whatever they call themselves even when the menu is limited the food served in wine bars is generally excellent. In almost all cases, the price you will pay for food in a wine bar offers a significant discount on similar dishes at a restaurant. Certain wine bars developed from a Cave du Vin, wine shops, and their choice of wines can be very broad.
Brasserie and Bar au Vins in Beaune, Burgundy.
Photograph courtesy of John Picken.
For more great pictures by John Picken see his Flickr PhotoStream on
    Wine bars offer the opportunity to experience selection of wines, but, they are not  usually the cheapest places to buy a whole bottle. Despite that caveat wine bars are definitely the place to try a wine or wines before buying; when visiting a wine bar try a glass of two or three of that bar’s recommended wines; note the year and other relevant details and you may discovered some fascinating new wines to take home. That tasting in a wine bar may also save you from buying a whole bottle or possibly a case of a wine you do not like.
A Bar à Cidre sometimes called a Bar à Sidre   A bar specializing  in cider. 
In Normandie cider bars will offer a variety of different  apple ciders, pear ciders and Pommeaus, apple based aperitifs,  along with  their Calvados AOC apple brandies. In Bretagne, Brittany,  cider bars offer their local ciders as well as their own Pommeau de Bretagne AOC and their apple brandy called Lambig.   Elsewhere cider bars offer  local ciders and apple  brandies. In the Basque country cider bars are called siderias. For more on the superb French ciders see my post: The Magnificent Ciders of France, all the French you Need to Know.

Bryan G Newman
Behind the French Menu.
Copyright 2011, 2012, 2013
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