In the past decade, wine bars have become a staple of the DC dining and drinking scene, with some more focused on the food and others fixated on the wine, serving small plates of cheese or cured meats to complement the vintages.
Among the pioneers is the wine bar at Bistrot Lepic , a second-floor hideaway above the Georgetown bistro that pours French varietals. Still going strong after a decade, Bistrot Lepic has inspired a generation of entrepreneurs and restaurateurs who’ve set up shop with just the dream of sharing their favorite beverage with Washington.
If a glass of wine and a bit of cheese is all you seek, check out the selections at Veritas and Cork. Veritas , near Dupont Circle, offers 70 wines by the glass, an international selection that draws from five continents. At Cork  you’ll find nearly 50 wines by the glass, mainly from France, Spain, Italy, and Germany — no New World offerings here.
For more substantial fare along with your pour, check out Proof , known for its numerous small plates and 50 wines by the glass, kept fresh in an Enomatic system that keeps the wines fresh by replacing oxygen in the open bottle with argon, eliminating oxidation. Proof’s selection is from all over the world.
Vinoteca  features 100 wines, many of them available in half-glass tasting pours, along with a full menu of New American fare with locally sourced and organic ingredients.
Although its name implies all things Californian, the wine list at Sonoma  heavily favors the wines of Italy, although the menu is Californian.
The city also has a number of fine restaurants with outstanding wine lists, and the booming popularity of wine in the United States has prompted these eateries to move their collections out of their cellars and place them front and center in the dining room. In many of DC’s top eateries, wine chillers are a central part of the decor.
For a night out of big food and substantial wines, there’s Charlie Palmer Steak , which only offers 10 wines by the glass, but rarely does a customer order a single serving. The restaurant’s 3,500-bottle selection is exclusively American, and Charlie Palmer will waive the corkage fee for anyone who brings in a special bottle to drink with their meal, as long as it’s American.
The Blue Duck Tavern  also has an encyclopedic wine list, with more than 30 by the glass, mainly American and including top Virginia wines.