A Wine Bar Built in New Orleans and Raised in Brooklyn

Reds, whites, and new
Reds, whites, and new


Total Wine Bar,
74 Fifth Avenue,
Park Slope, Brooklyn,
Occupying about half the space of this newish Park Slope wine room is a gorgeous, cleverly designed, U-shaped ash bar, built by the owner's father in New Orleans and hauled up to Brooklyn on a homemade trailer. The wainscoting that runs the length of one wall is made of sinker cypress, a soft wood reclaimed from muddy Louisiana riverbeds. In all, wood figures prominently in Total's design scheme, along with soft-but-not-dim lighting and pretty much nothing else—no homey knickknacks cluttering up every available nook—and the result is a mix of simple, almost old-fashioned coziness and modern sensibility. And there're good wines too, most available by both the glass ($6 and up) and bottle, each poetically described on the menu with a smitten single-sentence evaluation. The $9 glass of pinot gris ("orange blossom–scented and tropical fruit–tinged. bewitching") was as advertised, and the cheese selection ($6 each or $10 for two) includes one that's "satiny and salty" and a Spanish goat cheese that's "silky, creamy, and mild." Other snacks include sliced smoked kielbasa ($3) and a family recipe crawfish étouffée ($8). Perfect for the kind of date on which you want to have a classy drink but don't want to look like you're trying too hard.