Last week, Contra chefs Jeremiah Stone and Fabian von Hauske—along with their wine director, Jorge Riera—opened Wildair, a natural wine bar a few doors down from Contra. The bar was heavily inspired by their favorite wine bars around the world, so we asked them to share a few of their top picks.
In 2013, Jeremiah Stone and Fabian von Hauske opened Contra in New York City’s Lower East Side. The duo, whose combined résumé includes stints at Jean-Georges and the original Isa, quickly became known for their spectacularly innovative, original tasting menus (which include combinations like fresh corn and preserved strawberries). While they were planning Contra, they also bonded with natural wines expert Jorge Riera, who eventually joined them as the restaurant’s wine director. Last week, the three of them opened Wildair, a natural wine bar a few doors down from Contra that was heavily inspired by their favorite wine bars around the world. The casual concept combines rich snacks like a toast with razor clams and lardo, with a truly extensive wine list packed with off-the-beaten-path natural bottles, like a 100 percent Pinot from Slovenian winemaker Aci Urbajs. Here Stone, von Hauske and Riera share some of the amazing natural wine bars around the world that influenced Wildair.
Jeremiah Stone, chef
Le Dauphin, Paris
This is Inaki’s [Aizpitarte, of Le Chateaubriand] second project, a wine bar. He originally opened it as a more organized seated restaurant, but it has really transitioned to a tapas bar now. The food is leaning toward Spanish, South American, but it's truly a French wine bar at heart. Lots of amazing food and the kind of place you end up staying for hours on end. 131 Ave. Parmentier, Paris; restaurantledauphin.net.
La Buvette, Paris
Located in the 11th arrondissement—a cool area with all the hot spots at the moment—this is a place where you can have some really simple but delicious snacks, made with love by Camille Fourmont, formerly the face of Le Dauphin's bar. She's young and full of sass, the kind of person you want taking care of your evenings start to finish. 67 Rue Saint-Maur, Paris; +33 (0)9 83 56 94 11.
Septime La Cave, Paris
Here, Théo Pourriat from Septime curates a really nice, concise list of bottles, and the wines are sold at great prices. You can drink a few glasses, enjoy a snack and buy a few bottles to walk away with. In Paris, it's more common to be able to find this sort of place that's not a shop or wine bar, it's a combination called cave à vin. 3 Rue Basfroi, Paris; septime-charonne.fr.
Fabian Von Hauske, chef
It's the more casual restaurant/wine bar from the chefs behind Relæ. The food is always amazing, and they have the craziest wine list you'll ever see. Jægersborggade 40, Copenhagen; manfreds.dk.
Ved Stranden 10 Vinhandel og Bar, Copenhagen
It's the best place to drink wine during the summer in Copenhagen. It's right next to the canal, so you can just buy a bottle and sit by the water. The food is also great! Ved Stranden 10, Copenhagen; vedstranden10.dk.
The Ten Bells, NYC
While we were working on Contra, this is where we would spend a lot of our time. It’s also where we met Jorge [Riera] and started drinking a lot of the wines that we now serve at both Contra and Wildair, so for us it’s definitely a special place. 247 Broome St., New York; tenbellsnyc.com.
Jorge Riera, wine director
L’Arsouille, Rennes, France
In English, the name of this bar translates to Drunken Clown or Ass. It’s located in Brittany, and Chris [Gauchet], the proprietor, is a unique and special individual who is always seeking out new and exciting winemakers before they reach Paris. It’s a tiny place that holds no more than 20 people, but they have one of the deepest cellars—the cellar holds well over 6,000 bottles! 17 Rue Paul Bert, Rennes; +33 (0)2 99 38 11 10.
Les Becs à Vin, Orléans, France
On the banks of the Loire River, there’s a great little place with references from all over France. In addition to having a deep list of classic Loire growers, they pay particular attention to wine growers who are based in the Loire Valley and now have branced out to vineyards in the south. It also has an incredible customized sound system in which you’ll hear anything from Les Thugs and the Sex Pistols to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. 8 Place du Châtelet, Orléans; becsavin.com.
L'Anima del Vi, Barcelona
This place (which means “The Soul of Wine”) is located in an alley and run by a husband-and-wife team named Benoît Valée and Núria Rodríguez Maymó. They serve inspiring dishes to accompany their deep selection of natural Spanish and French wines. Benoît is responsible for introducing so many great natural wines to Barcelona, and now many people have followed. Carrer dels Vigatans 8, Barcelona; lanimadelvi.com.
Bar Brutal/Can Cisa, Barcelona
This is one of my favorite stomping grounds. They have the deepest and largest selection of natural wines in all of Spain! It’s a wine store bleeding into a wine bar or vice versa. Twin brothers, chefs Max and Stefano Colombo, source out great products from Italy, Spain and France, and they serve great modern dishes that showcase all the subtleties of the wines they carry. Many winemakers also bottle exclusive wines just for them. Beware when walking into Bar Brutal; time freezes and down the rabbit hole you’ll go—when you come back, no one knows! Carrer de la Princesa 14, Barcelona; cancisa.cat.