The Little Italy neighborhood got its name from its historic background. Not so long ago, the population was mostly comprised of Italian immigrants who fished for a living. In recent years, however, the area has updated into a hip, walkable neighborhood brimming with trendy places to eat and drink.
People who live and work in the area know that there are some really great Happy Hour specials to be found in the neighborhood after work. However, this isn’t the only time that you may want to go out and grab a drink with friends, family or neighbors.
While Little Italy may have evolved into a different, more modern community over the years, it still has strong Italian roots. It shouldn’t really surprise people much, then, that so there are so many incredibly wine bars dotted around the area. Italians, after all, take their wine quite seriously.
Wine bars offer those who love the spirit of the grapes more choice than can be found at the average bar or restaurant. While some establishments do have extensive wine lists, many places simply have a few different reds or whites (or just one of each), leaving wine enthusiasts with limited choices during an evening out.
At a wine bar, you can sample many different wines in flights or enjoy a bottle with friends. Thankfully, you don’t have to look far in Little Italy to find pleasant wine bars to visit on your next social outing. We’ve already rounded up four solid options, sure to please even connoisseurs.
Pali Wine Co.
Location: 2130 India Street (map)
Hours: Monday and Tuesday: 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesday-Friday: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday: Noon to 10 p.m., Sunday: Noon to 9 p.m.
Pali Wine Company started as a garage venture by a pair of friends who both loved Pinot Noir. Over time, their skill grew, as did demand, leading them to build a more modern winery in Lompoc. Since then, expansion to a San Diego wine bar only made sense. There’s seating in the main area and out front. You can also enjoy the twilight view when sitting on their rooftop patio, which could be an ideal romantic setting or a quiet place to escape the road-level noise and commotion.
From the central location to the sleek, modern design of the tasting room/wine bar itself, Pali Wine Co. in Little Italy is a great destination for an evening out. They carry the flagship wines from Pali Wine Co., including Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, as well as wines made by their second label, Tower 15. Those offerings including Bordeaux and Rhone blends.
A flight with five different wines here only costs $15. Customers can enjoy wine by the glass or the bottle, if they want to take some home to enjoy later. Fans of these unique wines may want to consider joining the wine club, which involves purchasing a bottle each month for a year at discounted prices.
Location: 1918 India Street (map)
Hours: Seven days a week from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Since 2014, M Winehouse has been serving up great drinks for patrons right in the heart of Little Italy. They pride themselves on a carefully curated wine list with many international selections, as well as specialty drinks, beers and bubbles. Their later hours make it a great place to visit right after work or after leaving dinner plans elsewhere.
Unlike some wine bars, which list endless options with little detail, the menu at M Winehouse actually makes it easy for you to select a bottle, even if you aren’t completely familiar with each wine. They explain the blends and offer information about taste, bouquet and more. There are also a few appetizers or snacks available, including a charcuteries platter, Spanish olives, a cheese platter and a rotating dessert menu.
During weekdays, you can enjoy Happy Hour pricing on their house wines and beers, as well as sangria. House wines are only $7 a glass from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., which is the same price they charge for sangria and house beers. You can even enjoy a whole pitcher of sangria for $30. They also celebrate Wine LVRS Wednesday, where they discount bottles of wine by 30 percent, excluding the Owners Choice bottles.
Location: 2034 Kettner Blvd. (map)
Hours: Monday: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday: 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
RoVino has quickly become a beloved destination among locals. In fact, it won San Diego Magazine’s 2017 Reader’s Pick Award for Best New Restaurant, as well as an Open Table award. Their name is a mash up of their two main offerings: rotisserie cooking and wine.
Of course, they also make pasta and other Italian fare, such as fresh daily fish and flatbreads. Like with many Italian eateries, you need to find a way to save some of your appetite for dessert. Options here include a lemon ricotta cheesecake, Italian rum cake, tiramisu and even a flourless chocolate cake. In addition to wines, they offer draft beers, coffee and espresso.
If the quality of the food and the wine selection aren’t enough to entice you into trying RoVino, perhaps their impressive mid-week sales will do the trick. On Wine Wednesdays, you can enjoy discounts of as much as 50 percent off of select bottles of wine. On Thirsty Thursdays, you can enjoy a second glass of wine or draft beer of the same or lesser value for free. Sadly, you can’t share with friends, but you do still get two glasses of wine for the price of one.
Sogno Di Vino
Location: 1607 India Street (map)
Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
With a wine selection that encompasses much of the world and a menu specially crafted to complement the drinks available in house, Sogno Di Vino is a foodie’s perfect first date location.
The wine selections range from domestic wines from California and Oregon to Italian, Argentinian, French and German offerings. Their beer menu includes both draft and bottled beers from San Diego and Europe as well. You can enjoy a flight of wine with three glasses of three ounces each for just $18, which is a great way to find wines you really love.
For those who want to focus on the wine, there are perfect snacking plates, such as a cheese, cheese and fruit, or a meat and cheese plate. For those craving something more substantial, there are salads, fresh Panini sandwiches, and a variety of veggies, olives and more.
There are also excellent prices on different days of the week. They do celebrate Happy Hour daily, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., and they offer discounts and specials beyond their $5 glasses of wine and $4 beers. On Pasta Tuesday, you can enjoy two plates of pasta and a bottle of wine for $35, while their Wednesday special involves any two of their entrees and a bottle of wine for $55.