Melbourne’s Best Wine Bars to Unleash Your Inner Sommelier
Stop in for a glass or stay for the bottle at Melbourne's best wine bars.
How lucky are we to be living through this particularly stellar epoch of wine bars? Snacks are now restaurant-quality menus, while thrill-seeking sommeliers introduce a new generation of drinkers to thought-provoking natural wines and funky pét-nats. Melbourne’s wine bars bring both mood and booze, imparting a sense of adventure whether they’re pouring or plating. Here’s our pick of the best…
The latest project from chef-restaurateur Clinton McIver, Appellation wine bar is set to open that the end of this month. The cool little sister of Mclver’s degustation hotspot Amaru (which is just across the road), you can expect great things from both the sips and the snacks which include bites of freshly shucked raw shellfish, mini chicken boudin hotdogs, and smoked Great Ocean duck breast. The kind of place where you stop in for a glass and stay for the bottle, Appellation will be right at home in Armadale.
Opens late April 2021
1160 High Street, Armadale
Half bar and half sustainable wine dispensary, Collingwood's newest tasting room is as good for the planet as it is your palate. We're big fans of try before you buy and Glou allows you to do just that. Perch yourself at the timber tasting bar and sample their curated selection of wines before deciding which one (or four) to take home with you. Wines are exclusively available on tap with three takeaway sizes; 500ml, 1000ml and 2000ml. All bottles are designed to be reused so you can grab yourself a cheeky refill at any time.
310 Smith Street, Collingwood
The team behind beloved retro-Euro spot Neighbourhood Wine have backed it up with another winner in Old Palm Liquor. This to Lygon Street bar boasts a comfortable, lived-in feel via panelled timber walls and vintage bar stools, while the open fireplace is sure to be competitive real estate next winter. There are 12 taps pouring a host of interesting local brewers, but the wine list is the main star – a powerhouse list covering every region and price point, with plenty of minimal intervention picks among them.
133B Lygon Street, Brunswick East
Making a worthy pitch for attention from its sibling downstairs, Cumulus Up is the breezily sophisticated wine bar of choice for city workers and educated drinkers. With a loft space that’s refined yet warm, they’re equally hospitable to a quick glass of Sangiovese and Merimbula oysters as they are to long evenings of bottles and share plates.
45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Something of a neighbourhood institution by now, Gerald’s is the locals local. Rambunctious in both atmosphere and offering, the constantly changing menu sits somewhere between bistro and tapas, updated by hand on a big roll of butcher’s paper. Their cellar numbers over 200, with as many new age, funky drops as there are classics.
386 Rathdowne St, Carlton North VIC 3054
This dark, wood-lined CBD wine bar is as sophisticated as it is laid-back, abuzz every night of the week with colleagues, friends and lovers enjoying thought-provoking wines and A-grade plates out of the wood-fired oven. Their self-described “slightly weird” list leans natural and small producer, while their famed roast chicken with whole garlic cloves is worth the visit alone.
122 Russell St, Melbourne
A shining gem in the McConnell crown, Marion’s extensive wine list encompasses everything from old world classics to boundary-pushing pét-nats while also offering finely-honed food – squacquerone and fennel salad, anyone? Let expert somms guide you to vinous pleasure as you kick back in a modern yet comfy dining room that’s sun-soaked during the day and glows warmly at night.
53 Gertrude St, Fitzroy
With a couple of Attica alumni running the show, would you expect anything less than a fearlessly funky wine list that roves between categories as broad as “energetic whites”, as specific as a page of Piedmontese Nebbiolo, and includes personal selections by favourite guests? Even non-drinkers and Dry July-ers get a look in with house-made kefir and leatherwood honey soda at this effortlessly cool Fitzroy mainstay.
234 Johnston Street, Fitzroy
When it comes to romance, there’s no denying that Italian’s do it better. Set in a historic South Melbourne terrace house, Bellotta Wine Bar comes armed with a touch of Mediterranean glamour and the kind of menu that’s made to share (plus a very sophisticated roster of wines on offer). You know what they say about oysters…
181 Bank Street, South Melbourne
At this slick wine bar-meets-bottleshop, over 300 bottles are at your disposal while an eclectic by-the-glass list jumps between orange verdelhos from Moffatdale and tempranillos from Rioja. Their wine-friendly snacks are just as globe-trotting, with wedges of saganaki neighbouring tonkatsu sandos on the menu.
28A Stanley St, Collingwood
This sophisticated little spot under Punch Lane celebrates female winemakers, distillers and even cheesemakers. Follow the pink neon light for a sleek yet intimate bar that’ll quickly become a new favourite, but particularly on Thursdays, when they do live jazz and raclette melted tableside.
37 - 41 Little Bourke St, Melbourne
Looking directly across at grand old Parliament House is a small, intimate wine bar that’s a small slice of Europe. Loved for its classic yet casual charm, City Wine Shop is happy to let you go your own speed – whether you choose a bottle from the shelf or go by the glass, snack on oysters or plunge into spaghetti meatballs, a good time is always in store.
159 Spring St, Melbourne
A neighbourhood favourite since day one, at Atlas Vinifera it’s all about the wine. To browse through their 400-strong shelves is to take a trip to every winemaking corner of the world, starting with a lowkey local Chardy and ending with a drop-dead gorgeous Chablis. Choose a bottle to nurse at the long counter bar over a cheese and charcuterie board or a plate of Spanish anchovies.
274 Church St, Richmond
Find all the cosiness of a Swiss ski lodge at this Prahran wine bar, where warmth comes from a flickering fireplace, peckishness is solved with salmon gravlax, and honey timber shelves are stacked with both burgundys and biodynamics. They’re open day and night for a talk and a tipple, with regular masterclasses helping you get familiar with their 400-bottle catalogue.
64 Commercial Rd, Prahran VIC 3181
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