A New Age of Wine
Written by Allison Kay Bannister. Photo: Aperitivo.


Scooch over beer. It’s time to make room at the table for another favorite Michigan inebriant. Whether you like it red or white, still or fizzy, sweet or dry—or anything in between—wine has become the latest darling in local dining.

Some names you’ll recognize as old standbys while others are up and coming. And, you’re about to find out there are a lot more places to have a glass than you might’ve realized. Here’s a rundown of wine bars you’ll want to check out. 

GRNoir Wine & Jazz  |  35 Division Ave South  |  The first Black-owned wine and jazz bar in downtown Grand Rapids, this luxe establishment has a lot going on. In addition to a wide array of wines, including their own private label made in partnership with Traverse City’s Chateau Chantal, they offer small plates and desserts to complement your selection. They also host Brunch with a Beat every third Sunday of the month, live jazz every week, and a tasting hour Wednesdays through Saturdays from 3–6 p.m. with $5 Pours. Look for special events throughout the year, such as GRAM Goes Late, and join their Wine Club for exclusive perks. Visit: grnoir.com

House of Wine  |  53 Monroe Center St NW  |  This downtown spot tucked between the wig shop and the cop shop may seem unassuming from the street, but step inside and it exudes cozy elegance. If you’re intimidated by wine, this is a great place to get your feet wet, as they have an approachable vibe and knowledgeable staff. Their menu features build-your-own and pre-set charcuterie boards, small plates, paninis, and a handful of desserts. Who could resist a cheesecake shooter?! In addition, they have free wine tasting events every Tuesday evening, as well as a Wine Club membership. Visit: houseofwinegr.com

Chateau Grand Rapids  |  955 Cherry St SE  |  Serving coffee by day and wine by night, Chateau in East Hills not only has an impressive offering of wines from around the world to enjoy on site by the glass or bottle, they also have a robust selection of Amaro, an Italian digestif that’s becoming increasingly popular around town. Their evening menu of wines and plates changes every week, and if you’re in the know, they have secret, off-menu items as well. Wine can also be purchased from their cellar to take home, and they have a Wine Club coming in May.
Visit: chateaugrandrapids.com

Aperitivo  |  435 Ionia Ave SW  |  Located in the Downtown Market, Aperitivo is more than a full-service cheese and charcuterie counter run by expert cheesemongers. They also invite shoppers to sit at the bar or on the seasonal, outdoor patio to nibble on a cheese plate and sip a glass of wine (or a beer or cider, if that’s more to your liking). They have cheese, charcuterie, beer, and wine classes and both a Wine and Cheese Club, too. Visit: aperitivogr.com

Post Off  |  952 Fulton St E  |  Representing Midtown, this wine bar and bottle shop focuses on natural, organically grown and made wines. They have a changing menu of small-production wines in a casual yet cool atmosphere, plus light snacks and other hard beverage and spirits, from ciders to spritzes to cocktails—not to mention lots of Amaro. Told ya’ it’s having a moment! Visit: postoffgr.com

Forty Pearl  |  40 Pearl St NW #110  |  If you’re a fan of Michigan wines, then this downtown establishment is a must try. They concentrate entirely on wines made in our fair state, starting out initially as a tasting room for Brengman Brothers’ fine wines. Since then, they’ve evolved to bring in a collection of wines from other estates, and they also have an expansive, locally sourced food menu with sharables, mains, desserts, and more.
Visit: fortypearlgr.com

Pursuit of Happiness Co.  |  1426 Robinson Rd SE  |  Love supporting women-owned businesses? POH in Eastown is right up your alley. They’re known for the own brand of bubbly, as well as other global sparkling wines, still wine, spritz cocktails (their house specialty, called Bubbles & Troubles, sold by the glass or pitcher), and, yes,  Miller High Life ponies and Tiny Heines. The food menu features small bites, charcuterie, toasts, and sweets by Mokaya. Visit: pursuitofhappiness.co

Wait, what?! Did we actually leave the award-winning Reserve out of this rundown? We did, but it wasn’t an oversight. They’re actually taking a hiatus to work on innovation and also align with construction planned on Lyon Street. Depending on when you’re reading this, you’ll either have a day or two to stop in before their last service on May 2, 2024, or you’ll have to hold on until their reopening at the end of the year. Based on their stellar reputation, it’ll surely be worth the wait. 

One other thing to look forward to is the soon-to-come Good Good Good, which is in the works with a TBD open date. It will be located in the Creston neighborhood at Sweet Street and Plainfield Avenue, and is envisioned to be a natural wine bar, retail bottle shop, and flower store.