Amelie Wine Bar, Greenwich Village, New York

Amelie Wine Bar became my most favourite place for a drink in the whole of New York City.

Amelie on West 8th Street

Amelie on West 8th Street

When we arrived in New York we went straight to our apartment, freshened up and then headed out the door looking for somewhere to have a light meal.  With no idea where to go we walked up West 8th Street and within less than a minute came across a very warm and friendly French wine bar, Amelie.  It was Bastille Day and through the windows we could see live musicians celebrating with French music and there seemed to be such a lovely vibe in the bar that we felt drawn-in.

A blackboard advertising the Happy Hours

A blackboard advertising the Happy Hours

Stepping in through the glass door we fell in love with Amelie instantly.  We were welcomed by very efficient, friendly and personable staff who greeted us almost as if they were expecting us and despite the venue being filled to capacity, somehow managed to find us two seats at the bar, right next to where the musicians were singing in French.

Live music

Live music


This was a Monday night at around 9pm and the bar was filled to capacity with well-dressed young couples all enjoying an evening of catching up with friends or loved ones in a relaxed and intimate setting.

The bar

I love the lighting above the bar

After such a long flight our new setting seemed surreal and we couldn’t believe our luck in stumbling, almost by accident, upon such a wonderful, totally-New-York-but-with-a-French-Twist, wine bar that seemed so characteristic of everything I had expected of the New York scene.

The bar at Amelie

The bar at Amelie

We immediately felt relaxed and at-home; there was such a friendly and welcoming atmosphere and we experienced the most, (even when run off their feet), attentive service.  The barmen, although incredibly busy, seemed to intuitively know exactly what stage everyone was at with their drinks and almost before you needed to re-order, they were right in front of you.

A glass of wine with sliced baguette - I almost thought I was in France

Warm Pistachio crusted goat cheese ball with honey, confiture d’oignons and toasts:  $9.00

They’re the kind of barmen who know their product well.  They are more than familiar with every wine on the wine list and are happy to pause and assist you with making your choice.  And it’s not all about the wine; they can fully inform you on the menu as well as make conversation that is effortless and relaxed.

Pate

Chicken Liver Mousse served with confiture d’oignons, cornichons, moutarde a l’ancienne, toasts $9.00

The wine list is extensive and while being predominantly French, is made up of wines from all over the world including New Zealand, Australia, Chile, Argentina and California.  And it’s not just about the wines; Amelie has an extensive cocktail list and Pete, (who was now touring with us), loved how there was Hendricks for his gin and tonics.

Tartare

Salmon Tartare with shallots, avocado, black sesame oil, lemon zest, cherry tomatoes, mango and scallions:  $14.00

Amelie Wine Bar became our ‘local’ while we were in Manhattan.  We went there most nights and came to know the staff fairly well.  We were greeted and farewelled with European kisses and no matter how busy, every night they managed to find a seat for us.  And this wasn’t extra-special treatment; this is how they treat all their ‘guests’.

Olives marinated in star anise

Olives marinated in star anise

On our first night, having both flown long distances, we were there to ‘dine’ more than to ‘wine’.  We ordered from the menu and shared a few appetisers.  I found the appetisers to be very reasonably priced and these could be easily eaten at the bar or at any of the tables.  Over a series of evenings we tried most of the appetisers and found the to be simply prepared with uncomplicated flavours.  I loved the presentation of the sliced baguettes served in hessian sacks, the flavour of the olives marinated with star anise, the smooth and velvety texture of the chicken liver mousse, and as for the cheese platter; we went with the barman’s recommendations and had some incredible cheeses I’d never before experienced.

Prosciutto with grain mustard, onion relish and gherkins

Prosciutto with grain mustard, onion relish and gherkins

We were so busy in New York that try as we might, we only made it to Amelie’s Happy Hour on on occasion.  I ordered ‘Flight’ which is where you can try any three wines from the wine list for $10.00.  I ordered a Champagne, a chardonnay and a zinfandel and enjoyed them with the star anise marinated olives.

Flight.  $10.00 during Happy Hour.

Flight. $10.00 during Happy Hour.

I’ve been back in Sydney almost a week and I haven’t stopped thinking about Amelie and wishing I could walk up the road and take a seat at the bar and order a few French treats.  New York has so many tourist attractions but I think it is Amelie that will pull me back to New York more quickly than anything else.

 

Cheese and fruit served on a map of France

Cheese and fruit served on a map of France

Even Pete said sitting up at the bar with us at Amelie was the highlight of his time in New York!

I love how there are hooks under the bar to hang your 'oversized, overpriced designer handbag'

I love how there are hooks under the bar to hang your ‘oversized, overpriced designer handbag’

If you’re fortunate enough to live in New York, take the subway to West 4th Street and walk up to 22 West 8th Street.  Amelie is open seven days.  If you can’t make it to the East Coast, there’s an Amelie in San Francisco.

The check is presented in an old French novel

The check is presented in an old French novel

Verdict:  You will fall in love.

Amelie Wine Bar:  22 West 8th Street, Manhattan, New York 10011

Ph:  (212) 533 2962

The bar

The bar

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Comments

  1. Oh…. I so want to go 🙂 Liz x

  2. I’d join you for a drink there – and one of those cheese and fruit plates please. Had to laugh at the pic of the bread in the hessian bag because at first I thought that the guy playing the trumpet was snake charming and the snake was about to appear out of the bag

  3. What a fabulous place. These are the types of signature places I love. The unexpected, the delightful, the personable…

  4. What a fun place to visit. I can see how it became your ‘local’. 🙂

  5. How fabulous! I am booked to go to NYC in just under 10 months time (yup, a long way away but time will fly) and must remember this place.

  6. You don’t praise lightly, my dear, this Amelie place must be over the top good! 🙂 I’m so glad you felt welcome.

  7. This sounds like such a welcoming and comfortable place. 🙂 I’d happily spend an evening here. 🙂

  8. I totally agree with Maureen, I too am glad you had a great time in the Big Apple.

  9. Ahh that sounds like such a wonderful place! Some places really nail the welcoming vibe which is so nice 😀

  10. Interesting story . . . but DO hope you made it to the indescribable NY Opera, Symphony, Chamber Music, Ballet and all of the NY Theatre Scene . . . I dunno: that was the main reason my husbands and I made the trek and took the time every year . . . oh the thousands of wonderful restaurants beginning naturally with all of the Jewish ‘home’ places’ . . . perchance we were looking for places different . . .

  11. How nice to feel so at home on the other side of the world! Those prices certainly seem quite reasonable, and Hendricks is my very favourite gin as well 🙂 xox

  12. What a lovely little place. I wish we’d found somewhere like this in NYC.

  13. Definitely going on my NYC bucket list!

  14. This place looks amazing! What fabulous, simple fare! Yum!

  15. Hi Charlie, looks like a great place, prices looked good too.

  16. I thought the prices not bad for NYC–and the food looks nice as well. The designer handbags aren’t bad either. 😉

  17. We usually don’t go as far north as that but after reading your review I will make the trek! Our French experience in NYC has been limited to Balthasar’s and one in the LES, and both are cold and standoff-ish. I love the sound of your service. The flight glasses look like full portions!

  18. Lady Luck was certainly smiling upon you that day, Charlie. I’m glad that was your first experience in New York rather than that “other” place. From your description you can see why the place is so popular. They know how to treat and feed their customers. Good of you to “adopt” Pete, too. Sounds like the guy needed a friend and you gave him a big hand up. Yeah, you’ve really got me thinking of using some frequent flier miles and heading to the Big Apple for an extended weekend. 🙂

  19. Looks like a great place. Love the live entertainment. Reasonable prices too!

  20. I always find it a bit daunting when we travel somewhere new and don’t know where to eat for those first couple of meals until you can get some local recommendations. It really can be quite “hit and miss” but I think you were extremely lucky to stumble on Amelie straight away … sounds like a fantastic venue!

  21. I’m in love just reading about this place!

  22. I’ve already fallen in love in Amelie 🙂 Wish we could have one here in Melbourne too and I think it’s so reasonably priced only $10 for wine!

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