Your Guide to Wine Bars and Deals for 5 Nights a Week

The latest crop of wine shops offers more than a standard shopping experience.


THIS STORY IS PART OF OUR 2022 BAR GUIDE. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THAT FEATURE.


1. Thelma Carol Wine Merchants

605 W. VIRGINIA ST. 

This Walker’s Point wine and spirits retailer conjures up an early 20th century library, an homage to the owners’ grandmothers (both were librarians). Seating areas set with vintage upholstered furniture are fitting alongside the old oak bar and exposed brick walls. Thursday nights feature regular 6 p.m. tastings, most often of wine. More focused events like food and wine pairings and bourbon tastings happen two-three times per month. Trying before buying is how Thelma Carol rolls – at the bar, they also offer glass pours of wine, beer and spirits.

Thelma Carol Wine Merchants owners Rebecca Sue Button and Jerel W. Hall; Photo by Jenny Bohr

2. 2A Wine Merchants

577 E. ERIE ST. 

The owners take the familiar learning-plus-tasting approach to selling wine, but here it feels fresh. They serve both the wine novice and the connoisseur, offering a quick grab-and-go room as well as a wine library for leisured browsing. The tasting room, open during shop hours, allows guests to order glass pours of wines featured in 2A’s monthly flights. No corkage fee for on-site bottle consumption, too.

2A Wine Bar; Photo by Visit Milwaukee

 

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3. Nonfiction Natural Wines

800 E. POTTER AVE. 

With a planned move to a Kinnickinnic Avenue space double its current size, Nonfiction will add a wine bar (for by-the-glass quaffing) and patio. All the more room to love on wines made without additives (herbicides, pesticides) and few to no preservatives. The cloudy appearance and funky flavor are trademarks, and if you’re new to them, it really helps to have an expert ease you on in. That’s what this also-funky little shop excels at. 

4. Strange Town Bottle Shop

275 W. WISCONSIN AVE. 

An offshoot of Strange Town vegan restaurant, the bottle shop kiosk at 3rd Street Market Hall shines its light on low-intervention (aka, natural) wines, specifically from under-represented grapes and small-production family farms. You can score something fairly niche here, and the little wine bar, serving glass pours, has a surprisingly intimate feel in the bustling market. 


Nightly Wine Deals

Sunday 

Balzac: Half-price bottled wine
Goodkind: Glass pour and carafe specials

Monday 

Pizza Man Milwaukee and Wauwatosa: Half-price bottled wine under $100
La Merenda: Half-price all bottled wine
Vintage 38 Greendale: $10 wine flight

Tuesday 

Vino Third Ward: No cork fee for bottled wines (typically $6)

Wednesday 

Strange Town: Half-price all bottled wines 
Jake’s Restaurant: Half-price bottled wines up to $100
Tre Rivali: Half-price select bottled wine 5-9 p.m.
Tenuta’s: $10 off bottled wines

Thursday

Dorsia: Half-price bottles 6 p.m.-close
Lazy Susan: Half-price all bottled wine
Taylor’s: $2 off by-the-glass wines, from 8 p.m.


 

This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine’s December issue.

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Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.