Best Bars In Okc – The Case for Drinking Wine in Oklahoma City by Anna Archibald, Bar at the Jones Assembly / Photo by Laci Schwögler, Retrospec Films
If country music conjures up images of Oklahoma City strip malls, rodeos, and trucks, you’re not wrong. But it’s time to plan a visit and get to know this vibrant city and its growing wine scene.
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As a regional center for arts and culture, Oklahoma City’s culinary scene has grown steadily over the past decade. There are many new places to drink and eat in many development areas. The city offers a variety of innovative and affordable options, where wine takes center stage.
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“After we got the [NBA] Oklahoma City Thunder [in 2008], I think that was a real turning point,” says Laverill Lauer, co-owner of Metro Wine Bar & Bistro for nearly 31 years with her husband, Chris. . “Now, just a few weeks ago, we had six restaurants open in one week, all independently, locally owned.”
Tourism growth and an influx of jobs from companies such as Dell, General Electric and Amazon have helped propel the food and beverage industry through tough times. Even during the recession, according to Lauer, her bar and others in the area were still buying because larger markets were slow to buy their wine.
“Maybe Oklahoma wasn’t seen as a good market, and we developed relationships with a lot of wineries and they realized we were a good market,” Lauer says. “I think wine lists around town reflect that.”
“Our most important goal is to provide information and education to consumers who want this type of communication, but without being rigid or coercive about what the consumer wants.” -Ashley Skinnell, Wine Manager, Freeman’s Liquor Market
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This is evident at The Pritchard, which opened in October 2016. Executive Chef Shelby Sieg also curates the wine list. She left the Oklahoma City area for several years to develop her skills as a pastry chef on the East Coast. Although she didn’t think she would return to the area, the city’s food and drink scene made her reconsider.
“When I was here [back], it was really interesting to see some of the chefs who live in other big markets come back and bring back their knowledge or the chef who decided to leave. Take a risk yourself,” says Sieg. “The volume of chef-driven ideas in the city has just exploded.”
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Mainstream food company Pritchard has helped push the concept of seasonal small plates around town. Sieg says people were hesitant at first, so they had to add more dishes to the menu. But as food culture has evolved, a more relaxed style is gaining ground.
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“I don’t know if Pritchard was at the forefront, but I think we contributed, and I’m very excited about the direction the city is going right now,” says Sieg. “I think people should visit us more.”
Located in the Plaza District, Pritchard specializes in boutique wines and small plates. Expect dishes that reference Sieg’s training as a pastry chef. Cured and cheese topped with figs to elderberry rhubarb jam served with sweet and savory combinations like basil, crispy chicken skin burrata and peach.
“We’re approaching our three-year anniversary [in October],” says Sieg. When he opened The Pritchard, “There was no other small plate idea in Oklahoma City,” he says. “We predicted this kind of trend.”
Seag’s dishes pair beautifully with an extensive wine list. Choose from nearly 60 bottles and offer 25 by the glass. Stop by for afternoon or late-night happy hours for $6 glasses of wine, plus other specials. Twenty Tuesdays offer $22 bottles of wine, and during weekend brunch, enjoy a taste of Sieg donuts served with salted caramel ganache.
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Since Riley Marshall and Dustin Lancaster opened it in 2018, Arbolada Bar has become an Arts District staple, bright, open and airy with floor-to-ceiling windows and rows of plants.
Most of the wines at this bar are available by the glass, with previous offerings ranging from Languedoc to Oregon’s Big Fire Pinot Gris, such as d’Opelhac Le Masset Rouge. There’s also a cocktail menu with original drinks named after celebrities, such as the Carroty Underwood (vodka, purple carrot, lime, averna and ginger). Be sure to fill up on snack bars like corn fritters and shishito peppers while you’re here.
Anatomy Wine Club does it all. In addition to the monthly wine club, Anatomy’s cozy, Instagram-friendly bar offers nearly 30 seasonally-rotating wines, more than half by the glass. Tasting is also offered, as well as half a bottle of wine served by carafe, serving bottles and glasses. There is also a bottle shop open until 10pm. Expect bottles like Omero Cellars Gamay Noir and Camino Roca Altxerri Txakoli. Follow the Anatomy Instagram for special events, Sunday trivia and drink specials.
If you enjoy live music as much as wine or delicious comfort food, visit The Jones Assembly. It opened in the summer of 2017 and continues to be a unicorn in the city. There is a full-service bar and restaurant on the ground floor, a T Room cocktail bar upstairs and concert space for up to 1,600 people.
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You’ll find an extensive wine list by the bottle and by the glass, craft cocktails and an array of dishes such as scallops with cauliflower pies and wood-fired pizza. Open every day except Monday, it serves brunch, lunch and dinner on Saturday and Sunday. Frito offers a limited but tempting menu on concert nights, such as Duck Chili Pie. Pair the meal with one of 20 wines by the glass, from California Pinot Noir to Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc.
Cheever’s Cafe is proud of its heritage, named after a prominent Oklahoma City family that ran a successful flower business in the early 1900s. Located in the city’s 23rd Ward, the charming restaurant features an Art Deco limestone brick facade. .
Although its walls are still plastered with the words ‘Flowers’, these days you’ll find sweets and bottles of wine in glass coolers instead of bouquets. Enjoy a glass of everything from Raptor Ridge Pinot Gris to Willamette Valley Vineyards Whole Cluster Pinot Noir, plus dishes like grilled shrimp casaarese with charred broccoli, Fresno chili pickles or short rib melt.
Metro Wine Bar & Bistro was one of the first of its kind in the city, opening nearly 31 years ago along Western Avenue in Oklahoma City. Inside, you’ll find the cozy atmosphere of an established neighborhood bar. LaVeryl Lower has managed the wine list since she and her husband started it in 1988. Since then, she’s had a wine list of about 325 bottles, served with classic, hearty dishes like filet mignon and risotto.
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“We’re close to Glass now, and I like to call it Chateau de Pelican,” Lauer says, “and it’s a Savagnin from the Jura.” They say there are about 23 lens options available. “I like to keep my list of wines by the glass very fresh and have unique wines that people might not try.”
In 2016, voters approved a resolution allowing grocery stores and warehouse clubs to carry wine. Sieg and Lauer urge wine lovers to support local shops that have been in the area for many years and are now facing competition from big companies.
It looks like a roadside pub from the outside, but at Freeman’s Liquor Mart you’ll find a wide selection of old world wines from Barolo and Cote-Rotti. Wines of the day range from Chenin Blanc (Ribbon Ridge) to Jonata l’Alma de Jonata from California. The shop was opened in 1959 and is very much loved by its patrons.
“We try to offer a little something for everyone,” says Ashley Skinnell, Freeman’s wine director. “Our most important goal is to provide information and education to consumers who want this type of communication, but without being rigid or coercive about what the consumer wants.”
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When Edmond Wine Shop opened in 1973, Vance Gregory designed the store with wine as the focal point. Since then, he’s perfected a selection of more than 3,000 wines, including 1,600 domestic offerings and more than half under $20.
“We are fortunate to have a loyal customer base that we have cultivated over the past 45 years,” says Gregory. “I opened my store in November 1973 believing in the future of fine wines [in Oklahoma] and I was not disappointed.”
Browse the store’s collection of old and new world wines and an equally impressive selection of craft beers, specialty spirits and liqueurs. Budget enough time and you won’t see