Sandia Chang: the best champagne bars in New York

Los Angeles-born London champagne queen Sandia Chang is one half of the husband-and-wife team behind Charlotte Street institution Kitchen Table. Having closed Bubbledogs, her legendary hotdogs and champagne joint, she’s now opened Bubbleshop, an online retailer through which she sells a variety of hard-to-source grower champagnes from small-scale producers. Before moving to London she lived in New York City, where she worked at Thomas Keller’s Per Se and developed her love of wine. We talked to her about the Big Apple’s best champagne bars.

Air’s Champagne Parlour 

Everybody thinks champagne is such a prestigious drink and it can only be drunk for special occasions. But I’ve always felt that it is just wine with bubbles in it. And that it should be drunk all the time because it’s so versatile, it goes with every sort of food and it just makes people happy. Thankfully, in New York lots of people agree with me and there’s a new generation of wine people who are making champagne fun and accessible. One of the best is the amazing Ariel Arce, the super-passionate woman behind Air’s Champagne Parlour in Greenwich Village. She’s a big supporter of grower champagnes and she sells some of the best-priced bottles in New York City. The space is lovely and the short food menu – oysters, caviar, crudo – includes a grilled cheese, which is salty and greasy and goes perfectly with champagne.  


Air’s Champagne Parlour

Aldo Sohm, Midtown 

Aldo Sohm is the wine director at Le Bernardin, the three-Michelin-star restaurant in New York, and he’s one of the best sommeliers in the world. About 10 years ago he opened his own wine bar in Midtown. It’s a kind-of glitzy and glamorous sort of place where you’ll find all the top-end classic champagnes like Krug and Armand de Brignac, which you can drink in his handsome high-ceilinged bar.   


Aldo Sohm, Midtown

Terroir, Tribeca 

Terroir is a restaurant really, rather than a bar, but it probably has the biggest selection of champagne in New York. My first job was in Tribeca, and when I worked there we liked to do restaurant hops where we’d go to one place for a starter, and then another for a main and then another for dessert and cheese, always getting walk-ins and sitting at the bar. Terroir has a lovely counter-top bar, which is a great place to sit and drink. 


Terroir, Tribeca

The Four Horsemen, Brooklyn 

Being in Brooklyn, The Four Horsemen has a younger, cooler vibe, and its wine selection is a little bit more quirky and out-there. Their list has a lot of natural wine producers and smaller producers, who are doing interesting things like aging the wine in amphoras, or using natural fermentation. It’s a good place to drink brut nature champagne, which doesn’t have any sugar added after the second fermentation. The food there is also amazing. They do a baked camembert served with potato chips, which really is one of the best things you can eat with champagne.  


The Four Horsemen, Brooklyn

To buy champagne from Sandia’s carefully curated selection, go to bubbleshoplondon.com

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