Wine bars are officially hip again. In Leiden, the wine scene has been refreshed with new, modern wine bars where you can start your evening with an aperitif and a bite, or even linger on all night with dinner included. The traditional candlelit bars have been replaced by hipster livingroom-like places to gather, eat and drink. So I’ve put together a list of the best wine bars in Leiden that are cosy and perfect for a romantic date or a night out with the girls.
Jeanpagne with its canal front terrace is a popular French style bistro and wine bar. Some prefer it in the summer when the tables outside fill up, but the indoors is just as wonderful. The food is excellent and there’s no better spot in town to combine a good glass of wine with a small plate that transports you to France. The inside is like a Parisian brasserie, unpretentious with a modern twist. French wine takes top billing but there are bottles from around the world that you can try by the glass. Beyond their extensive wine list there are wines that the owner discovered on wine tours and tastings. Special wines that are usually not offered by the glass at other places.– Nieuwe Rijn 27
Hidden in a narrow alley connecting the Vismarkt and Breestraat you’ll find Burgemeester Goeswijn. With a facade adorned with flowers you can’t help but peek inside, only to find out that the outside is just as adorable as the interior. For beginners this is an optimum spot. In a vintage style interior you’ll have time to explore the extensive wine list combined with light dishes, snacks or cheese platters. Pick one of the wine tasting options where you are introduced to three or four different wines. The list is long enough to pick something to your liking, from more common wines to lesser spotted varieties like Iranian wine with its distinct character or a Dutch Riesling from the Apostelhoeve vineyard in Maastricht. The food and cheese platter options aren’t average either. The menu consists of vegetarian small plate dishes like truffle buratta cheese with red beets and pistachios, battered-fried cauliflower with a yoghurt-dill sauce, or grilled asparagus with parmesan cheese. – Choorlammersteeg 1D
Winebar & Restaurant Wielinga
Wielinga has a very respectable selection of wines. The wines can be bought by the glass or bottle. It is the tantalising match with the food served at Wielinga that draws locals to this classic winebar. In the front is the posh French bistro style restaurant. In the back there’s the wine bar where you can sample their wide range of house wines, and several high-end wines. Pair your wine with a pick from the Charcuterie like the pata negra, Cecina de León, sausages, cheeses, the most delicious olives and authetic French bread from Boulangerie Mamie Gourmande. – Nieuwe Rijn 25
Dúo Food & Winebar
Newly opened Dúo looks anything but a wine bar. A tropical decor with lush plants, bohemian furniture and vibrant coloured fabrics might mislead by-passers but once you see the menu you’ll be wanting to book a table asap. A fun fact to know is that you can buy all the accessories you see in the restaurant. Wine and shopping, is that a good combination or what? – Nieuwe Beestenmarkt 8
With more than 150 different wines, Spanish pinxtos and a wine pairing food menu, Proeflokaal 1574 is hands down the perfect place to develop your wine tasting skills. There’s a large sunny outside terrace with a view on the canal, making it the preferred spot in summer. For the real wine aficionados they even offer wine tasting courses to become a certified wine connaisseur – Apothekersdijk 38
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