Even if you have no clue what a sommelier is, wine bars don't have to be intimidating. Regardless of the hour, non-winos need not fear an atmosphere of pinkies-out pretense at these local sipping spots. But it couldn't get any more casual (or cheaper) than during happy hour.
JJ's Coffee + Wine Bistro
1806 W. Lake St., Mpls. • 612-522-8000 • www. jjscoffeecompany.com
This coffee-shop-by-day, wine-bar-by-night is as relaxed as they come. Unqualified quaffers can take solace in an explanatory wine list, which goes as far as suggesting wines based on beer preference. During JJ's daily 3-6 p.m. and 9 p.m.-to-close happy hours, house wines are a tempting $4, but $2 select beers and $5 sake cocktails offer value variety.
Lucia's Wine Bar
1432 W. 31st St., Mpls. • 612-825-1572 • www.lucias.com
While the versatile Uptown favorite is also an upscale eatery and take-out joint, Lucia's wine bar is a comfortable night-owl attraction. As the sun falls, so do the prices during a happy hour from 9-11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and again Sunday, with $6 select wines, $3 taps and $7 top-shelf cocktails. Try soaking up the vino with Lucia's late-night menu.
Kings Wine Bar
4555 Grand Av. S., Mpls. • 612-354-7928 • www.kingsmpls.com
One of Kingfield's coziest haunts has a lengthy wine list with glasses typically falling in the $7-$10 range. But from 3-6 p.m. daily and 10 p.m.-midnight Sunday through Thursday, take $2 wines by the glass, as well as taps, burgers, tots and fries. Nothing says "laid back" like fine wine and French fries.