With winter and the holiday season coming up, there is nothing better than cozing up in a warm bar with good wine and comfort food to come with it. We might not have a lot of proper wine bars but the ones we do have are worth visiting. Fortunately each is different than the other, which makes it easy to rotate across them.
Its classic and cozy ambiance created from the dark wooden décor and its small size it is an ideal space for enjoying good wine. Being of a Venetian origin, the wine list does have a lot of wine from Veneto, as well as a selection that expands to the rest of Italy. It is worth noting that, if you don’t like wine or don’t feel like it, you can try a few of the carefully chosen, classic Italian cocktails like the Spritz or the Negroni, or a Prosecco from a very wide selection.
Wine selection: around 45 labels of great value for money wine (90% Italian and 10% Argentinian, South African and Australian)
Wine by the glass choice: 6 red, 2 rose, 4 white and a wide choice of Prosecco
The owner recommends: Tediciolo 2007 red at 25€
Food: they have adopted the also Venetian concept of “cicchetti”, ie small dishes to accompany the wine. Even though they are not so small anymore they are still fantastic and change quite often so we won’t get bored. Must-try are the sausages and the lasagne
22676969, Prodromou 113, Engomi, NICOSIA
It started as a wine cellar and due to demand has expanded into being a tapas bar and, despite some volatile times it has certainly succeeded in establishing itself. With wine from all over the world and a fantastic cellar (in which you can dine) it is one of the top wine bars in the capital. Apart from wine, if you feel like cocktails their list is very decent with cocktails at 7.50€, all made using premium spirits.
Wine selection: more than 600 labels
Wine by the glass: around 40 different types from 3€-20€ that you can enjoy as a half or full portion
The owner recommends: Malbec (Pascual Toso) at 25€, their best seller
Food: excellent tapas with dishes like the chorizo chips, chipirones and the excellent “jamon”. They have also recently introduced set menus at very good value for money.
22676707, Kyriakou Matsi 20, NICOSIA
Probably the only wine bar that is mostly a bar rather than a sit-down dining place. With Cava Nostra, their own wine shop, across the street they of course have one of the best value for money wine list, with a selection that changes often. The fact that they have kept the original name and retro ambiance as the “bar” that was there before them adds to their concept and the warm but buzzy atmosphere. The fact that it gets packed from 6:30 onwards makes it ideal for an after work drink (or an after dinner digestif since it continues to be full until late).
Wine selection: more than 200 labels as they can serve everything they have in their wine cellar across the street
Wine by the glass: 9 red, 5-6 white, 3 rose, 1 champagne, 1 prosecco, 1 sparkling dessert wine, 1 sparkling dry rose and 1 port (total of 23)
The owner recommends: Speri Valpolicella Classico (red) and Chatzivaritis Mosaic (white)
Food: you have the choice of an international or a local cheese and meat platter (rumour has it the cold platters menu will have some additions)
22666579 , Sofouli 44-46, NICOSIA
The first proper wine bar in the capital, part of Classic Hotel. Even though I haven’t been in a long time, I was surprised to see that it has been recently renovated into a lovely classic space with modern touches. I loved the fact that their wine cellar is inside the restaurant as it makes one feel that they are indeed, in a wine bar. Reasons to go are firstly the fact that they have live music with different themes 3 times a week. Secondly they have the biggest selection of Greek and Cypriot wine, a great initiative for supporting local products. Everything has been very carefully selected since they cooperate with someliers from around the world.
Wine selection: 330 different labels with a very large selection from Greece and Cyprus
Wine by the glass: you can choose from 22 different types of wine by the glass
The owner recommends: Petrides 2011, Kyperounta Wineries for 19.75€ (white) and Maratheftiko 2009, Ktima Argyrides (red)
Food: They have a proper food menu from their international cuisine, including platters (fruit, cheese and cured meat)
22664006, Rigenis 94, NICOSIA
Cellar & Bottega
I searched hard for a proper wine bar in Limassol but, even though there are a lot of places that have a good wine list they are not necessarily a wine bar. Cellar & Bottega however, which is a delicatessen with a good Italian wine selection has recently adopted the concept of “aperitivo” in its original sense, i.e. serving wine with nibbles all day until early evening. The concept of having a glass of wine in a cozy and traditional wine shop surrounded by Italian delicacies is unique. The fact that Fabrizio (the owner) serves some of these delicacies for his clients to try is even better. The grilled artichokes soked in olive oil and the excellent dips were worth it.
25745566, Riga Ferreou 8, LIMASSOL
Other bars where you could enjoy good wine in a nice atmosphere:
Caraffa Bastione (Nicosia) for great cocktails and nice wine
Market Company (Nicosia): even though the wine list is short (especially the wine-by-the-glass selection which is one for each type) they have some good value for money bottles with nice food to accompany them
Polo Bar/Restaurant at Alasia hotel (Limassol): despite not being a proper wine bar their wine selection is excellent with bottles starting at 18€. It is one of my favourite discoveries this year in terms of food and quality in general so whether it is for dinner, or a glass of wine you must try it
Two 4 Eight (Limassol): a sort of tapas restaurant with one of the best wine cellars in Limassol
(in)theory (Limassol) it is mostly a cocktail bar but the wine they serve is very good, and the fact that they have platters make it a safe option for wine and nibbles