Raising the Wine Bar

By Christine Liu | Boston Magazine |

The Other Side Café creates a vino list with a conscience.


Henry Patterson, a partner in the Other Side Café, loves to talk about terroir, the notion that a wine, when properly crafted, reflects the unique environment in which the grapes were grown: the soil, the air, the water, even the slope of the land. Visit his café, tucked away on the Newbury Street extension, and chances are you’ll find yourself doing the same. Since last summer, Patterson has been offering an earth-friendly wine list, emphasizing biodynamic and sustainably farmed selections from around the world. In order to make the cut, vintners must use methods that express terroir and respect the surrounding ecosystem.

The list showcases about 20 varieties—almost all of them available by the glass for $7 to $12—and includes selections that range from France (Château de Roquefort Clairette, a Rhône white) to California (Sonoma’s Wild Hog zinfandel). The program is ambitious, but you needn’t worry about being outnumbered by wine snobs: The Other Side has a distinctly urban edge, and the food is casual (chili, savory pies, desserts, and plenty of vegan options). Even the wine descriptors are irreverent ("hedonistic," "I love a good buzz!"), and offer advice on whether a vintage is best enjoyed on its own, with a particular entrée, or with dessert. And the menu only gets funnier the longer you stay.

407 Newbury St., Boston, 617-536-8437.