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In Vino 1 Bars Wine Bars Alphabet City East Village Loisaida

When the Manhattan Sideways team sat down with Keith Beavers, owner of In Vino, he told us that his goal is to spread his knowledge in an uncomplicated, down-to-earth manner. According to Keith, too many people make talking about wine inaccessible by “talking nonsense.” He simply wants “everyone to know everything about wine, and learn about it in a way that interests them.” Keith himself has no formal training but “accidentally” fell into the role of wine aficionado. When In Vino opened in 2003, he accepted the invitation from then-owner Luigi Iasill to join the team, and never looked back. After gradually assuming more and more responsibility at In Vino, Keith ended up buying both the restaurant and Alphabet City Wine Company in 2006.

His philosophy of “simple is best” was what drove him to partner with the Daily Meal to make educational wine videos, and also what summarizes the menu at In Vino.

Bringing a chef-driven kitchen into In Vino had long been a dream for Keith, and Chef James Kelly helped make it come true. Chef James told us that the ingredients he uses and the dishes he makes can be summed up in three words: simple, basic, and best. He draws inspiration from cooking to make friends and family happy, “basically, classic Italian food, but with a bit of a twist.” James prepared us a favorite dish, Risotto Sporco, a “boot to boot” dish that is a play on New Orleans dirty rice, simple but spicy.

Meanwhile, Keith poured us a glass of dol cetto Piedmont wine and told us about the difference between the nebiolo, barbera, and dol cetto grapes of the region. He called it “geeking out,” but our team agreed that he was an excellent casual educator. The interesting food and wine, the cozy, cavern-like décor, and the personal attention from the staff makes In Vino a genuine, welcoming Italian retreat on 4th street. And if one would like to take a bottle or two of wine home, Alphabet City Wine Company is just a few blocks away.

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In Vino 1 Bars Wine Bars Alphabet City East Village Loisaida
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More places on 4th Street

Lost Gem
Pageant Print Shop 1 Bookstores Family Owned undefined

Pageant Print Shop

Pageant Print Shop’s entirely glass storefront bordered by light blue is instantly eye-catching and proudly displays the treasure within. Inside its bright, buttercream interior, an immense assortment of old prints and maps line every wall and fill neatly-labeled display racks. This sanctuary of beautiful historical pieces was created by Sidney Solomon and Henry Chafetz in 1946. It was originally one of the many second-hand book stores on Fourth Avenue, an area that was then known as “Book Row. ” Now under the leadership of Sidney’s daughters, Shirley and Rebecca, Pageant Print Shop primarily sells old prints and is thriving at its current 4th Street location. Having worked with historic pieces her whole life, Shirley knows how to get the best prints. She has amassed her impressive collection from antique book auctions as well as other various sources that she has built up over the years. Roger, who has been working at Pageant Print Shop for over a decade, told Manhattan Sideways that “what we are looking for are old books with the bindings broken that are really not in very good shape on the outside, but still have good quality prints, maps, or illustrations on the inside. ” Although they search for old books based on the contents within, the shop also sells the old bindings for creatives looking to make decoupage and other fun art projects. Pageant Print Shop is definitely a fixture in the East Village, and in the words of Roger, is “one of those neighborhood jams. ” They enjoy “a loyal group of people that have been coming here for eons, " tourists looking for something authentically New York City, and neighborhood people walking by. He told us that newcomers are often “surprised that they are able to buy a piece of history, ” and return for more of their authentic, beautiful, and historic prints. Pageant Print Shop is unique in its extensive, high quality, and affordable selection. Roger affirmed that “It’s going to be hard for you to find someone who has this kind of a collection at these kinds of prices — it’s just true. ”

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Lost Gem
Ruffian Wine Bar & Chef's Table 1 Wine Bars Cafes Late Night Eats undefined


Strolling on 7th Street in the East Village, it is quite easy to miss the narrow Ruffian Wine Bar & Chef's Table. Doing so would be a shame, however, considering the unique wine-drinking experience that owner Patrick Cournot, a Greenwich Village native, presents to the customers that pass through its Moroccan-style arches. For starters, Patrick’s “dynamic groups of wines” - mostly from southern France - go beyond the usual red or white. Here, the red wines offered range from translucid to inky black, and the white wines from pale with hints of green to deep amber. Customers can enjoy their wine while looking at contemporary art by Alberto Burri and Patrick’s wife, Elena Hall, who also designed the space. Everything from the wine bar’s organic design to the intriguing dishes prepared by chefs Josh Ochoa and Andy Alexandre “puts you in the right frame of mind to enjoy the wine, ” according to Patrick. The polished 3, 000-pound concrete bar and colored ceramic patterns on the wall create a contrast with the colors of the wine, which Patrick thinks often get lost in the dark wood and dim lighted décor of most wine bars. The kitchen is located behind the bar, so customers can be reminded that Ruffian Wine Bar puts as much care into its food as its wine. As for the dishes, it is difficult to describe the menu as a whole because, according to Patrick, a vast percentage of it changes every week. The dynamic quality of the food selection, though, allows Patrick to “incorporate flavors as they come out” seasonally. Yet whatever the menu of the day is, Patrick wants to ensure that the dishes have an intense flavor, which often translates into doing a contemporary twist on familiar ingredients. Two members of the Manhattan Sideways team were able to sample Josh’s culinary inventiveness with a dynamic dish made of lentils cooked in salt water, dressed with yogurt spiced with curry leaf, mustard and cumin seed, and topped with beet sprouts, crunchy noodles, Thai basil, and lemon juice. The result was a perfect appetizer with many levels of texture that, Patrick assured us, “brings up and shows the vibrant elements of the wine” that accompanies it. More than that, it shows Patrick has reached his goal for his wine bar: “to do ambitious things in a small space. ”

Lost Gem
Bibi Wine Bar 1 Bars Wine Bars undefined

Bibi Wine Bar

Bibi’s Wine Bar, opened in 2014, has a fascinating story behind its name. “We haven’t really told anyone the true version, yet, ” Bonny McKenzie, the managing director, explained to me when I stopped in one afternoon. According to the website, the bar is named after her great great grandfather, but the real story is more interesting than that. When Michael Lagnese and Jonny Cohen decided to open a wine bar in the East Village, they invited Bonny to join them and secured Carlo Soranno, from the 8th Street Winecellar, as their executive chef. Originally from Australia, Bonny had never expected to remain in the US, but after working for the two men on 8th Street, she decided to stay. The three wine connoisseurs found an excellent piece of real estate on 9th Street, and started planning their opening. They wanted to name the bar “bibi, ” which means “to drink, to visit, and to toast” in Latin. Unfortunately, they lost the space. A year later, the trio started looking into the bar’s current location. Bonny did not want to use the name “bibi, ” since she thought it would be bad luck. However, when she went home to Melbourne, she mentioned to her family that they were going to open a wine bar and might call it “Bibi. ” Bonny told me that her grandmother suddenly became very excited, expressing her joy that Bonny was naming the bar after her great, great grandfather. Bonny had not made the connection that her ancestor, whose given name was Richard, was called “Bibi” by both his parents and children. Bonny’s mother had even written a children’s book about how he had moved from Belgium to Massachusetts and learned English by using his weekly allowance to watch American movies. Bonny immediately got on the phone with Jonny and Michael to let them know that she approved of keeping the original name. A photograph of Bibi, the Belgian cigar-maker, now hangs in the back of the bar. When I asked Bonny how she felt about being on 4th, she said that she appreciates being on a street where eighty to ninety percent of her clients are locals. She told me that many people in the area are training to be sommeliers, and so she enjoys occasionally giving blind taste tests to help them study. Having worked at the 8th Street Wine Cellar, she can confidently say that it is a different mix of people than Greenwich Village. On 4th Street, life is more relaxed and bibi appears to be the ideal, unpretentious wine bar for the neighborhood.