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Where to Explore Affordable Wines by the Glass in Philadelphia

As Philly's wine IQ rises, there are more and more opportunities to find great wines that won't totally break the bank.

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In honor of Cheap Eats Week, it seems fitting to address the question of how to get into some good wine without decimating your life savings. To be clear, these spots don't strive to be the very cheapest places in the city to down any old glass of wine. Instead, this list celebrates spots boasting wine on tap, house wine selections that go a bit above and beyond the mainstream, and excellent lists drawn up by some of the city's brightest wine minds that include lower-priced pours. Of course, if you're looking for even greater deals, you might want to stick to happy hour, when even some of the city's priciest bars will offer selections as low as $5. But here, we've focused on places that offer interesting wines for less than $10 all the time.

The Strat: Draft Wine and House Wine

The Spot: Tria Taproom
Of course, any Tria location is a great choice if you're looking to try new things and learn more about wine, so maybe it's a weird choice to highlight their most beer-focused venture. But serving wine on tap is a solid eco-friendly and cost-cutting strategy, and the Taproom, with its commitment to offering everything on draft, features a dozen taps dedicated to wine alone. Expect to find lots of worthy selections around the $8.50 mark, but better yet, there's no need for guesswork when you can monitor their reserves in real time online. Tria Taproom, 2005 Walnut St.; three additional Tria locations, also recommended.

The Spot: Pizzeria Vetri
Vetri knows wine. Pizzeria Vetri knows casual dining that doesn't skimp on quality. Here, you're not going in for quantity, but for one well chosen red and white selection on tap, both of which reliably hit the mark at just $8 to $9 a glass. You can even opt for sparkling wine and still come in under $10. Pizzeria Vetri, 1939 Callowhill St., and 1615 Chancellor St.

The Spot: Good King Tavern
This relaxed neighborhood hang is a favorite wine-drinking spot thanks to its house wine list that offers a three-tiered selection of "good, better, and best" wines in red or white, beginning at $6.50 per glass. If you've got a group, or an impressive thirst, you can also opt to order any of them by the pichet. (And don't forget to give a glance to the bottle list, which regularly features bottles around the $40 mark.) The Good King Tavern, 614 S. Seventh St.

The Spot: Earth Bread + Brewery
A brewery might not top your list of likely wine destinations, but Mt. Airy's Earth Bread + Brewery delivers an eclectic list worth checking out, including draft selections available by the glass or carafe, and most everything falls in the $7 to $9 range. It may be hard to look past the beer while you're here, but you'll risk missing out on good wine deals. Earth Bread + Brewery, 7136 Germantown Ave., Mt. Airy.

The Spot: Whetstone Tavern
This brand-new Queen Village tavern features a wine list designed by sommelier Marnie Old, who we trust to lead us to something worthwhile in her selection of one white and one red house selection for $6 a glass. And if you're willing to invest just a bit more, a handful of selections between $7 and $9 also pepper the varied glass list (including a few three-ounce pours of dessert wines). Whetstone Tavern, 700 S. Fifth St.

The Strat: Tasting Pours

The Spot: Petruce et al.
Sure, you're not looking at full five-ounce pours on the budget set forth here, but if sampling a variety of quality wines is the goal, you're sure to find some new favorites here in three-ounce pours, for an investment of $6 to $8 per glass. The man behind the list is Tim Kweeder, one of the names at the forefront of Philly's wine awakening, who's a go-to source for what's new and exciting in natural and organic wines, top-notch boxed wines, and anything else you don't yet know you love. Once you hit on something that really knocks your socks off, dropping a little more for the full glass won't seem so daunting. Petruce et al., 1121 Walnut St.

The Spot: Panorama
This wine specialist has an insanely deep bench and it doesn't skew cheap, though you will find some glasses that sneak in under $10. But if it's the ability to sample around that you're after, you're not likely to find a wider availability of three-ounce tasting pours. Stick to the low end of the price spectrum there, and you'll get away with some great tastes and knowledge, having spent less than if you opt for one of the many available flights. (The flights are about the equivalent of a glass and a half, for the sake of reference.) Panorama, 14 N. Front St. (at the Penn's View Hotel).

The Strat: The Revamped Dive Bar

The Spot: Triangle Tavern
Your penchant for low-key neighborhood bars doesn't necessarily have to relegate you to drinking High Life. The newly revamped Triangle focuses on old school Italian-American classics, so it only makes sense that your time there be wine-soaked and stress-free. Red and white house wines go for a flat $7 a glass (also available by the carafe), and a brief bottle list offers choices as low as $30. We're not saying they'll miraculously rival wines costing much more on fine dining lists, but there is some real bang for your buck to be had here, and plenty of fun as well. Triangle Tavern, 1338 S. Tenth St.

The Strat-Free Strat: Drink Wine at Wine Bars

The Spots: Jet Wine Bar; Vintage
If you're trying to get into wine, don't overlook the obvious, even if some stubborn old stereotypes might make a "wine bar" sound like a pricy proposition. There are plenty of bars specializing in the stuff that consistently deliver approachable, affordable selections. South Street's Jet Wine Bar and Midtown Village's Vintage are two of Philly's most knowledgeable wine bar staples, both regularly featuring plenty of glasses below $10 on their lists. And since they focus on wine all the time, it follows that their happy hours and other deals highlight wine more than many other bars. For instance, hit Vintage during happy hour for great $4 and $5 pours; drop by Jet on Tuesdays and get more sampling bang for your buck via half-glasses and inexpensive custom flights. Jet Wine Bar, 1525 South St.; Vintage Wine Bar, 129 S. 13th St.

The Happy Hour Exception

The Spot: Abe Fisher
True, happy hour deals are not the main focus here. But we're willing to make an exception for Abe for a couple of reasons: The happy hour deals run seven days a week, and rather than limiting you to one or two selections each day on a special happy hour list, this CookNSolo spot will let you order up any regularly available wine by the glass at a discounted rate of $7 per glass. (Normally, they're $12 apiece.) And make no mistake, there are some real finds here. Drop by the bar any night between 5 and 7 p.m. and let the exploration begin. Abe Fisher, 1623 Sansom St.

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