Bar56 Lets You Sip And Shop For Wine Under The Brooklyn Bridge

If you're a New Yorker — or a visiting tourist — looking for a unique wine and dine experience, look no further than bar56, which is located mere steps away from the Brooklyn Bridge. And right next door is taste56, a wine shop with an interactive tasting room. Together, bar56 and taste56 offer the perfect wine-filled night out under the Brooklyn Bridge.

The wine bar and restaurant combo was designed by restaurateur James Fantaci — who has worked in the wine and hospitality industry for over 20 years — and Studio Shea, utilizing a landmark building that dates all the way back to 1892. Bar56 offers — you guessed it — 56 different types of wine, curated by restaurateur and professional sommelier Aaron Fusco, general manager Michael Brown, and Fantaci himself. The menu is described as modern American with Italian and French influences. The restaurant is designed to cater to various kinds of nights out — those looking to have just a glass of wine can snag a spot at the 18-seat bar whereas those looking for a nice sit-down meal will be seated in the 52-seat dining room. Finally, there's even a 10-seat lounge area for a more intimate evening out.

Founder Fantaci told Tasting Table, "We have been working on this project for a long time, so it has been rewarding to see the pieces come together as we constantly seek to focus on the details in all aspects: the physical space, the food, wine, and most importantly, the hospitality of our team."

The restaurant offers a seasonally-driven menu

The dining menu was crafted by executive chef Vincent Cortese (whose previous credits include working at Daniel Boloud's Bar Boulud and as Chef de Cuisine at Melissa Rodriguez's Del Posto). Cortese drew on his background working in Italian and French high-end restaurants to craft the menu, which focuses on seasonal ingredients. James Fantaci said, "Cortese has curated a menu that showcases his talents and thoughtfulness in terms of ingredients, presentation, and diversity of flavors and textures."

Let's give you an idea of what the menu entails: for your appetizer, try the fried artichokes with roasted garlic labneh and urfa — or baby beets panzanella with pine nuts and sourdough croutons. For your main course, you might go with the black sea bass with kombu, mussels, saffron, and Thai basil; or maybe you opt for the dry-aged strip loin with grilled gem lettuce, cherry tomato, and Parmesan; or the grilled lamb neck with marinated summer vegetables and spiced yogurt. Finally, the dessert options include vanilla panna cotta with fresh strawberries, olive oil, sea salt, and basil; as well as a chocolate torte with cherry semifreddo and toasted almonds; or you can try La Tur, with summer peaches and a freshly baked baguette.

If wine isn't your thing, then they also offer hand-crafted cocktails to pair with your meal. These cocktails include Tradewinds, which is made with either light or dark run, along with apricot, coconut, and lemon; and That Pink Drink, a margarita-like drink consisting of Blanco tequila, agave, watermelon, and grapefruit.

There are 56 wines by the glass — all of which you can buy next door

Bar56 takes wine seriously, which is why they have sommeliers and wine experts working in the restaurant on a nightly basis in order to help each guest have the best wine experience possible. As the name would suggest, there are 56 wines by the glass, all of which you can also buy by the bottle. Further, bar56 has a next-door neighbor: wine shop taste56, which was also founded by Fantaci, where guests can purchase all of the wine that they loved at bar56.

The wines are selected by Fantaci and his team, using an organization system called Palate Character to arrange the wines into groups of similar traits (rather than by region). Of their wine categorization system, Fantaci said, "We believe Palate Character is a more intuitive way for consumers to shop in-store as well as in the restaurant, as it facilitates a language between servers and consumers, and helps guests match wine with the food."

If you prefer white wine, then the palate characters that you have to choose from include bright & crisp, balance & finesse, and rich & full. Meanwhile, they offer the following for red wines: light & bright, smooth & silky, round & fleshy, tone & backbone, and powerful & extracted.

Taste56 also offers wine tasting if you're unsure which palate characteristics best suit your tastes and would like to try out a variety. Once you've settled on your favorite, you can pop over next door to bar56 and enjoy a glass — or share a bottle with friends — of the wine that stood out the most to you.