Two wine bars in Lyon for good times with friends

Published: 2018/02/21

L’Ange di Vin and Le Ballon, two wine bars in Lyon that are more fitted to friends than lovers.

 

For different reasons, L’Ange di Vin and Le Ballon are my two favorite wine bars in Lyon whenever I am in search of a moment with friends, food and wine (responsibly, of course).

 

 

 

You’re in luck, my friends. Lyon does not lack for wine bars.

You could find them practically around any corner of the Presqu’île or Vieux Lyon, immersing perfectly into the historical culture of these neighborhoods.

This scenery would let you to believe wine bars are the temple of love… but I like to think they are not reserved to dates and couples.

Each of my trips to l’Ange di Vin just underlines this aspect.

The food enhances the experience in l’Ange di Vin

Located on a cobbled street full of typical Lyon charm, called Rue de la Monnaie (2nd arrondissement), right next to Rue Mercière in Presqu’île, I am used to spending evenings there with close friends without ever ending up on a island, in the middle of dating couples.

Why ? The atmosphere makes it special.

Wine bar wall of bottles in Lyon

A view inside l’Ange di Vin in Lyon and its wall of bottles of wine.

Cozy with low and warm lights, snacks to share… but you just feel at home, minus the sleepers and pit fire.

The “tapas” is what sets l’Ange di Vin apart from other wine bars.

I can’t forget the fried gambas I ordered last time, with asian pasta that was perfectly spicy, for only 7€ – the regular price for any tapas served.

It might be a little bit expensive for the amount of food (I was expecting more for my first time), but woah, does the taste make up for it.

The food is not an afterthought at all, it appears as a key component of the overall experience.

Entrées just taste incredible, refined but traditional.

A deep selection of wines from the region of Lyon

While you wait for the food to bless your taste buds, you can choose your glass of wine from a slate disposed on a wall.

The selection of l’Ange di Vin is nothing breathtaking, but you will find a glass of wine to suit every desire.

Moreover, all the selected wines come from the surroundings of Lyon. You stick to the region and this is one more local layer to add to the experience.

You would find Côte du Rhône and Burgundy wines to choose from around 25€ a bottle.

Yes, I know, it’s definitely not cheap, but the glass of wine is a good value at around 10€.

inside the wine bar l'Ange di Vin in Lyon

L’Ange di Vin Wine bar in Lyon gives an intimate scenery.

However, let’s be honest, the ambiant noise might be disruptive for some.

The wine bar is pretty small, although cozy and warm, the kitchen is barely out of the main room and the bar (yes, there is an actual one) takes up most of the space.

But l’Ange di Vin remains my favorite wine bar in Lyon, despite some drawbacks that make the experience much more lively, in my opinion.

Le Ballon is another wine bar to remember… for its food, again

L’Ange di Vin is not the only worthwhile wine bar. Go out and discover Le Ballon.

Same neighborhood in Rue Palais Grillet, near Cordeliers (2nd arrondisssement), but other end of the spectrum.

The feeling of intimacy is definitely not as strong, but if you prefer modern architecture and a broader wine selection, you’d love this place (too).

inside the wine bar Le Ballon in Lyon

A more colorful note awaits in Le Ballon in Lyon.

More than 200 wines from around the globe (Argentina, New Zealand or South Africa) with the guidance of three sommeliers, expertise is the main word.

Their price can vary widely as the waitress makes a list of their wines, from less than 20€ to up to three digits a bottle…

I will take her word for it and keep it local with a glass of Beaujolais white wine.

The same thing can be said for the kitchen. This wine bar looks more like a wine restaurant (and this is not a bad thing at all). You could still locate tapas from 10€ to 15€, but they should not be the center of the attention.

The main courses should be.

The risotto and its tomato sauce was exquisite for 14€ and I fell for the “café gourmand” at 7€, to end on a strong note of coffee 100% arabica from Ethiopia (Kaffa).

Starting at 15€ for dinner and 10€ for lunch, these main courses bring an audacious experience for a wine bar.

First, they are made by excellent cooks and second, you do not leave with an empty stomach.

Le Ballon is not the true synonym of intimacy. You visit this wine bar to mix the best wine with an excellent meal for any opportunity to share a moment with friends.

The wine selection of Le Ballon would accomodate most everyone, that is a certainty, but you loose one key element that sets L’Ange di Vin apart : a clear identity.

The information about the wine given by the waitress feels more like a friend’s advice.

And this is what you get when you spend an evening in l’Ange di Vin.

The perfect combination between the personnification of French culture and the coziness of a wine bar, nested in the heart of one of the oldest neighborhood of Lyon.

Feeling at home is one hell of a sentiment.

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