1. 1215 Wine Bar & Coffee LabWine is always on flight at this Gateway Quarter café. The entire menu is a tasting menu, with a seasonally-changing list of offerings. This spring’s offerings include wines from Friuli (Italy), Sangiovese, mixed red, mixed white, sparkling, and more. Flights of three generously-poured tastings run $13–15. The staff is well-trained and ready to talk tasting notes and more about the wines. Come on Thursday nights for live jazz, and come back in the morning for another kind of tasting: a hot or iced pour-over of any of the six rotating coffees on the menu. Closing time is Mon–Tues: 10 pm, Weds: 11 pm, Thurs–Sat: 12 am, Sun: 7 pm; 1215 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 429-5745 2. Oakley WinesLast year’s new owner and new location brought the shop a fresh, modern ambiance—and did not sacrifice its well-curated and affordable selection. Each tasting takes a theme (recent examples include wines for spring, wines from California, and classic varietals), and for $10 you’ll try five wines. Prefer your grapes with a bit more mystery? They also regularly host blind tastings. Fridays 5–8 pm, 4011 Allston St., Oakley, (513) 531-1400, oakleywines.com3. Market WinesStop into this Findlay Market storefront to sample some new wines—don’t expect them to serve some Chardonnay and calls it a day. And at $5 for four pours, it’s not a bad way to branch out. Try the weekend tastings, or come by Tuesday nights to sip sans the crowds. Owner Michael Maxwell stocks more than 600 wines and has been known to suggest a pairing by looking into your bag of market groceries, so snag a bottle for later, too. Saturdays and Sundays 11 am–3 pm, Tuesdays 5–7:30 pm, 128 W. Elder St., Findlay Market, Over-the-Rhine, (513) 744-98884. Water Tower Fine WinesThis eastside spot, across from its namesake neighborhood-icon, is not messing around with its selection: roughly 2,000 wines, including 135 Champagnes and 130 international sparkling wines. That means you have a lot of tasting to do. Luckily, they offer six-pour lineups of red or white for $15 each—or $20 for both—and all tastings include hors d’oeuvres. Sign up for their newsletter to know what they’ll be sampling, and head there on warm days to enjoy their deck. Fridays 5:30–8:30 pm, Saturdays 12–5 pm, 6136 Campus Ln., Mt. Washington, (513) 231-9463, watertowerfinewines.com5. Awakenings Coffee and Tea Co. You can sip near Hyde Park Square every day of the week. The Awakenings wine bar offers four wine flights—one white, three red, each with three pours—that change monthly. Flights are priced around $10–11 per flight, though they’re 30 percent off on Fridays to help you get your weekend going. Equally of note: Thursdays all glass pours are $5—they typically offer 15 at any given time—and you can always buy a bottle at retail price (read: close to state minimum, not restaurant prices) and enjoy it there. Sip, sip, hooray. Closing time is Sun–Thurs: 9 pm, Fri–Sat: 12 am; 2734 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, (513) 321-2525, awakeningscoffeeandwine.com
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