at these chic
BY JESSICA MERRILL
Tired of the usual wine bar, choosing between red, white or maybe, if
you’re feeling inspired, a glass of rosé?
Then add some sparkle to your next
night out. Champagne bars are popping up in cities from Philadelphia to
Boston, making it easier than ever to
sample Champagne-style sparklers
from around the world, from Spanish
cava, Italian prosecco and New World
sparkling wines to the French originals.
With plenty of sweet and savory snack
accompaniments and DJs spinning,
these plush lounges up the sophistication quotient of the local bar scene.
So go ahead, raise a toast with a glass
of bubbly—no celebration required.
The scene: Candlelit nooks and oil
paintings lend an intimate speakeasy
vibe for couples on dates and for
girlfriend get-togethers. Old trunks
double as cocktail tables, and the walls
are lined with champagne bottles. The
long, sleek bar is flecked with gold.
The bubbly. More than 25 champagnes are available by the taste, flute
or bottle, topping out at a Krug Grande
Cuvée for $60 a glass. Fans of bellinis
will love choosing from white peach,
lychee, mango, pear, rhubarb, raspberry or strawberry juices with Flute’s
bellini tasting flight.
The eats: Vietnamese fusion
spring rolls, from a traditional Saigon version with shrimp and noodles to an Italian-inspired Firenze
with proscuitto and mozzarella,
are on the light bites menu. There
are mini tuna and beef burgers too,
and a selection of caviar and rich
desserts (think chocolate crepes).
Find it: Flute is tucked amid the
shops and cafés of Gramercy. Plus, a
second location is in midtown ( 40 E.
20th St.; 212-529-7870 or 205 W. 54th
St.; 212-265-5169; flutebar.com).
The scene: When they opened
Swanky Bubbles, owners and brothers Vince and John Frankowski set
out to create a bar with a hip yet
soothing environment, where people could listen to live DJs, eat good
food and sip champagne. “The next
closest champagne bar was in New
York City, so it seemed like a perfect
match for the city,” Vince Frankowski says. A custom bar top of assorted
broken glass by designer Kevin Hale,
and matching cocktail tables, give
the space plenty of its own character.
The bubbly: Thirteen sparkling
wines by the glass, ranging from
a Chandon Blanc de Noir to Dom
Perignon ($50 per glass with a