When New Yorkers talk about our favorite French restaurants, we’re usually talking about the type of creaky old (looking) bistros that aren’t exactly au courant with young people in Paris. So where would your average Parisian hipster actually go? Someplace a lot like Amélie, the new wine bar that opened quietly on West 8th Street a couple of weeks ago.
The aesthetic here is very sleek, a mod mashup of a red epoxy-topped bar, moody globe lighting, starburst chandeliers, and oxblood banquettes. There’s an excellent sound system playing some cool tunes, dozens of bottles of wine by the glass, and a knowledgeable sommelier (previously of Balthazaar) who can deftly guide you through it all. “I love this one,” he said recently of a recommended Cahors. “It smells like a horse.”
Amélie originated in San Francisco, and now the French natives and owners Samie Didda and Germain Michel have expanded east to New York. There’s a small plates menu that would make this the perfect place for a date or late night bite, but really, this place feels more like a sexy wine bar than a restaurant. It’s very low key and opened without any PR fanfare, so we almost walked right by before doing a double take. Is that a really Parisian wine bar right in the middle of hodgepodge, formerly no-man’s-land West 8th Street, just a couple of blocks from our apartment?
Fortunately for us, the answer is yes.
22 West 8th Street, between Fifth Avenue and MacDougal Street
New York, NY