I don’t buy lottery tickets. I send messages to the wine fairy. I figure it’s more likely he/she will drop that sought-after, unlimited credit card on my pillow one night, and when it happens, I will take it to some of my favorite places to enjoy good wine and good people. Here are 5 good local places to drink wine — and why.
1. Mitchell’s Fish Market
14311 Clay Terrace, 317-848-3474, www.mitchellsfishmarket.com
You always have to wait for a table here, even with a reservation, but that’s a good thing. Go find a stool at the bar and look at the long, intriguing wine-by-the-glass list. Yes, the prices per glass are what you would pay per bottle in retail location, but you’re waiting for a table to indulge in some of Mitchell’s fabulously fresh seafood. Sweet and fruity to bare bones dry wines are available by the glass. Sincere bartenders make it all that much easier. Go wait and enjoy, and take their menu to the store the next time you shop for wine.
2. The Egyptian Café & Hookah Bar
6265 Carrollton Ave., 317-255-4400, www.theegyptianindy.com
I don’t smoke the hookah, but I bet you get thirsty when you do. If so, try one of the Lebanese wines on their list. The owner told me he couldn’t find any good Egyptian wines, so he opted for wines from the country next door. Good strategy. The white is crisp and works with the highly aromatic, spicy foods. The red is rough and tannic on its own, but try it with the Philly cheesesteak and it seems as if this combo might be something one would order while in a café in Egypt. Also try the Chateau Kefraya La Dame Blanche and Chateau Kefraya Les Breteches Red.
3. Binkley’s Kitchen and Bar
5902 N. College, 317-722-8888, www.binkleyskitchenandbar.com
I love this place and am eager to sample more of its wine list when they have one those bartenders who can handle 30 guests at the bar. My visit found me stool-side. The bartender brought me a dry Sauvignon Blanc from the Napa Wine Company, and it was tasty — a nice surprise, as most of the better Californian Sauvignon Blancs come from neighboring Sonoma County.
4. Oakleys Bistro
1464 W. 86th St., 317-824-1231
Sommelier Lisa Cunningham knows her stuff and offers one of the best wine lists in town, be it by the glass, bottle or half bottle. And I didn’t even mention Chef Steve Oakleys divine cuisine that pairs perfectly with any wine on the list. You’re in good hands at Oakleys, which offers free wine tastings on Tuesday afternoons.
5. Broad Ripple Brew Pub
840 E. 65th St., 317-253-2739
John Smith’s wife, Mary, used to own the Corner Wine Bar, and for years I felt as if I was the only person drinking the short but outstanding wines on the list. Most drank the outstanding brews. Then Mary sold the CWB and brought her full cellar to the Brew Pub — a divine intervention for those of us who love the food, people and ambience but prefer fermented fruit over grain.