A cozy wine bar is just the place to take the edge off of cold winter nights, and metro Denver has several such spots, each with a warm, inviting ambience and plenty of interesting vino. Here are five of our favorites:
4280 Tennyson Street
What’s cozier than a bar full of books? This charming venue features quiet nooks for reading and conversation and offers a menu of creatively named coffee drinks and food as well as a solid selection of wine by the glass and bottle. This delightful place has daily treats for book lovers such as a literary game night, poetry readings, book signings and drink specials just for readers. Book Bar takes $2 off all wine, beer and pizzettas Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. and runs other drink specials throughout the week. You can turn a page and sip a glass from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.
La Cour Bistro and Art Bar
1643 South Broadway
Among the used-car dealerships, pot shops and antique stores along South Broadway stands a blue building where “Paris and the Front Range meet,” in the words of co-owner Janet Poth. She and Joseph Monley opened this quaint venue three years ago to provide art, French wine, French food and nightly jazz to the neighborhood. “This lifestyle should be as accessible as possible,” says Poth, who spent her whole life in Paris before coming to Denver. Jazz musicians play every night from 7 to 10 p.m. with no cover and no minimum drink order. Exposed brick walls and no televisions add to the Old World charm: “Art is our screen,” Poth points out. Every Wednesday, La Cour takes 30 percent off French wines by the bottle, and on the second Wednesday of the month, the bistro offers a free wine-and-food pairing from 5 to 6:30 p.m. La Cour is open Tuesday through Thursday from 4 to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to midnight, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch and 4 to 11 p.m. for dinner.
Kate’s Wine Bar
5671 South Nevada Street, Littleton
Just off Littleton’s Main Street, the lights of Kate’s Wine Bar offer an inviting glow. “'Cozy' is our number-one descriptor. The second is 'cute.'” says general manager Dano Householder. Kate’s feels like a place where everyone knows your name. This sweet little wine bar has a nice selection of wines, appetizers and desserts, and is open from 4 to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 4 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday. Happy hour runs 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. It’s a great place to warm up after enjoying a walk around Littleton’s charming downtown.
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Beatrice & Woodsley
38 South Broadway
The entrance to Beatrice & Woodsley is easy to miss; the utterly nondescript exterior (with only the tiniest sign on the door to tip you off) is nestled among more boldly advertised enterprises on this colorful block of Broadway. But inside lies a magical grove where patrons can sip wine under aspen trees. The dreamy restaurant decor was inspired by a story of a winemaker’s daughter who fell in love with the cooper’s son. The theme is not overdone, but instead the interior is delightfully cozy — and the wine list is exceptional, with choices from Europe, South America and the U.S. Beatrice & Woodsley is open from 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 5 to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday, with brunch served from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. (Oh, and it’s okay if you want to take a picture of the bathroom sink — you won't be the first.)
Virgilio's Pizzeria & Wine Bar
10025 West San Juan Way, Littleton
Sometimes a destination in the outer suburbs is worth the drive. Virgilio’s Pizzeria & Wine Bar is one such place. Better known for its award-winning pizza, Virgilio’s offers an impressive sixty wines by the glass, including some hard-to-find varietals. “In the suburbs, there’s nothing like this,” says owner Virgilio Urbano. Originally located in a much smaller space in Belmar, where customers waited an hour to get a seat, the larger location still feels cozy, maybe because of the fireplaces and the old family photos decorating the walls. Even the labels of the house wines — Ruviano Chianti (named after the Italian town where Virgilio’s mother and father were married) and Ruviano Pinot Grigio — depict Urbano’s parents walking through their vineyard on their wedding day. The place can get really busy, particularly on a Friday night, but the dining room is divided into smaller rooms to maintain a cozy family atmosphere. Virgilio’s is open from 11 a.m. to 8:55 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 9:55 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Happy hour (11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily) specials include $3 off all wines by the glass and 20 percent off all bottles of wine. On Wednesdays, bottles of wine up to $75 are 50 percent off, and those over $75 are 20 percent off.