Best Wine Bars In Melbourne

MELBOURNE | Trying to select the best wine bars in Melbourne is a tough task as there are so many great places to enjoy a wine in this city. Whether its new world or old, local or international, white or red, Melbourne’s wine bars have what you’re looking for. We’ve chosen a selection of out favourite spots from across Melbourne that offer not only great wines, but also have very knowledgeable staff with a passion for wine, and helping you find exactly the right wine for you, even if you don’t yet know what that wine is. Has your favourite Melbourne wine bar made the cut?

Bar Liberty

top 10 best wine bars melbourne

Fitzroy’s Bar Liberty is the brainchild between Banjo Harris Plane, Michael Bascetta , Casey Wall and Manu Potoi and is the kind of bar the owners like to hang out in. The minimalist space offers great food and drinks, with a focus on fantastic wine. Harris Plane, The Age Good Food Guide 2015 Sommelier of the Year and former Gourmet Traveller Sommelier of the Year has put together a well thought out list of around 130 wines that run the gamut of styles, countries, ages and price ranges.

Whether it’s a 2015 Sassafras Savagnin Ancestral from Canberra, a 2015 Blaufränkisch from Austria or a 1968 Calvet Nuit St Georges from France there will be something to suit on offer. Some of this stuff is super rare, available only at wine auctions and from wineries that no longer exist. Even if you don’t know what you want, Harris Plane’s skill means that he’ll zero in on just the right wine for you after a few quick questions.

Bar Liberty
234 Johnston Street
Fitzroy
Victoria 3065
Australia

Sun Moth Canteen & Bar

top 10 best wine bars melbourne

Sun Moth Canteen & Bar doesn’t try to appeal to anyone’s notions of what a Melbourne “laneway” bar should be, rather owners Luke Mutton and Kylie Mackinlay have created the kind of place they like to hang out in. The space is white and light, with high ceilings and brickwork. The bar and kitchen takes up a large potion of the centre of the room with a range of spaces for people to chill out and chat, work on their laptops or watch whatever’s projecting onto the wall.

Sun Moth might not be a dedicated wine bar – there are 6 craft beers on tap, cocktails and decent food as it transitions from cafe during the day to bar an night, but its philosophy towards wine is why it’s made this list. The focused range consists of some very unique wines from small Australian producers. Think natural and organic wines from young, start-up winemakers. The staff at Sun Moth are really passionate about the wines that they stock and are able to tell you the story behind each of them – the flavour profiles, the people and processes involved etc.

Sun Moth Canteen & Bar
28 Niagara Lane
Melbourne
Victoria 3000
Australia

Smalls Bar

Smalls Bar is quite literally a small bar. Owner Jess Ho’s venue seats 24 people and has a wine list that focuses on small wine producers from all over the world. About 15 wines are available by the glass at any given time along with 2 beers and a few spirits and cocktails. The food list is designed to accompany the food and features items like charcuterie, oysters, rilette and a very moreish croque monsieur. The space is dark and intimate – perfect for a pre-dinner drink or settling in to for the night.

The wine list and food menu changes frequently which means you’re always likely to find something new and interesting whenever you visit, such as one of our hard-to-find favourites, the Pheasant’s Tears ‘11 Rkatsiteli.

Smalls Bar
20 Yarra Place
South Melbourne
Victoria 3205
Australia

Marion

top 10 best wine bars melbourne

Marion is an informal wine bar feautring white bricks, copper accents and wood to make for a sophisticated, industrial space that’s very ‘Fitzroy’. It’s all about good wine here and the wine list is very extensive. No matter what your budget or preference for style is there’s something for you on the menu. If it’s not a full bottle you’re after, there are half bottles as well as a rotating selection of about 15 wines on any given day. The first time we visited we tried a red from Bosnia and have found something new (to us) and exciting every time we’ve visited since.

As you’d expect being an Andrew McConnell establishment, the food at Marion is much more than an afterthought. A small bowl of olives and nuts comes as standard with your order of wine and there’s a full menu if you want a proper feed ranging from light dishes to heartier options.

Marion
53 Gertrude Street
Fitztoy
Victoria 3065
Australia

City Wine Shop

top 10 best wine bars melbourne

City Wine Shop is a bar and retail shop just across from Parliament from the owners of The European, Siglo, Melbourne Supper Club and Neopoli. With this pedigree comes a certain level of expectation and thankfully those expectations are more than met at City Wine Shop. The focus is on local and European wines and when you arrive you can either choose a bottle of wine from the store to take away or drink in (with corkage). The friendly and helpful staff are really knowledgeable and will help you find just the right bottle if you’re unsure of what it is you’re after. If you don’t want a full bottle, there are a number of wines available to purchase by the glass.

The space has a cozy, European feel to it and this translates to the menu, which features European inspired small dishes and share plates, designed to be enjoyed with wine. The cheese selection, which comes from Spring Street Grocers next door, is excellent and rotates regularly.

City Wine Shop
159 Spring Street
Melbourne
Victoria 3000
Australia

Embla

top 10 best wine bars melbourne

Embla was one of 2016’s most anticipated openings, being the new venture by Town Mouse duo Christian McCabe and executive chef Dave Verheul and thankfully it has lived up to expectations. Co-owner and French natural-wine producer Eric Narioo has prepared a wine list that contains wines from around the world, with a focus on local drops. There are new and old world wines, familiar and unfamiliar varietals, medium sized and boutique labels, with the list structured in such a way as to encourage those who may be unfamiliar with wine to experiment. It’s about what the wines taste like rather than names and traditional categorisations and the knowledgeable and friendly staff are more than happy to help you find the wine you’re looking for, regardless of whether or not you know what that wine is.

On the food front it’s rustic food designed to pair with wine, that is more comforting and familiar than what you might expect but with enough flair and interesting touches to keep diners excited. A bottle shop to purchase bottles to take away will also be coming to Embla soon.

Embla
120 Russell Street
Melbourne
Victoria 3000
Australia

Cumulus Up

top 10 best wine bars melbourne

The second Andrew McConnell venue to appear on our list is Cumulus Up. Located above fantastic restaurant Cumulus Inc, this Flinders Lane loft wine bar combines slick and rustic elements to create a welcoming space with a great atmosphere. Wines are sourced from across the globe with a mixture of the familiar varietals along with the more on-trend natural and orange wines that are popping up across Melbourne. If it’s a glass you’re after, a handful of whites, reds and bubbles are on offer too, along with a few beers, spirits and cocktails.

The food is impressive and ranges from tasty appetisers through to more substantial offerings – think oysters, confit duck waffles with foie gras, and striped trumpeter carpaccio. Whether it’s a quick drink or a long stay and a feed, you won’t be disappointed by Cumulus up. Service is attentive and knowledgeable, and recently completed renovations have seen the space freshened up and expanded, making a visit to Cumulus Up even more enticing than before.

Cumulus Up
Upstairs
45 Flinders Lane
Melbourne
Victoria 3000
Australia

Gerald’s Bar

top 10 best wine bars melbourne

Gerald’s Bar has become an inner North institution since opening in 2010, with locals returning time and time again for the great wine, friendly service and neighbourhood atmosphere. An interesting aspect of the fantastic wine list and Gerald’s is that the wines that are available by the glass are not fixed in advance, but rather chosen by customers. On any given day there will (usually) be three red wines and three white wines available by the glass and if you arrive early enough or if a bottle has just finished then you will have the opportunity to have the wine of your choice by the glass.

Along with its wine selection, Gerald’s also always has a small but solid selection of beers, which usually includes a number of local and imported craft beers. Food wise it’s Italian-inspired dishes ranging from small plates that can serve as a snack to tide one over while having a quiet drink to main-sized dishes. The menu’s constantly rotating based on whatever produce is good that day and what the chef feels like cooking.

Gerald’s Bar
386 Rathdowne Street
Carlton North
Victoria 3054
Australia

Milton Wine Shop

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Milton Wine Shop is all about bringing locals in the area great wines and tasty food to match in a cozy, homely space. Owners Lyndon Kubis and Mark Nelson have succeeded in this goal, with the brick and wood surfaces and soft lighting creating a great atmosphere, be it in the main front room, the back lounge room, side or garden at the back of the property. It feels a lot like being in someone’s home.

There are a lot of wines to choose from here, with a mixture of local and international wines and a focus on organic and biodynamic wines. There’s some quality food to match with your wine too. Terrine, charcuterie, pate and cheese all make for fantastic wine partners and you want a more substantial feed, you can order pizza from nearby Pizza Gallery and have it delivered. Lovers of craft beer are well catered to as well, with an impressive bottle range on offer.

Milton Wine Shop
1427 Malvern Road
Malvern
Victoria 3144
Australia

Seddon Wine Store

top 10 best wine bars melbourne
Seddon Wine Store is 20 seater wine shop/bar which offers over 500 bottles on wines for customers to take away or enjoy in the store. The wines have all been carefully selected by owner Jeremy Honisett, who has a very impressive knowledge of all things wine and loves teaching customers new things and introducing them to wines they may not have encountered before. We love the space which is completely unpretentious, and allows the wine to do the talking.

The focus isn’t on any particular style of wine or type of producer, but rather on the quality of the wine. A small selection of craft spirits and beers is also offered. Food is limited to bar snacks like cheese and charcuterie – perfect for pairing with wine.

Seddon Wine Store
2/101 Victoria Street
Seddon
Victoria 3011
Australia

Neighbourhood Wine

top 10 best wine bars melbourne

Located above the original Woodstock pizza restaurant, Neighbourhood Wine is a Modern Australian restaurant that first opened back in early 2013. Neighbourhood Wine replaced what was, according to urban myth, an illicit gambling hall. Whether myth or not Neighbourhood Wine definitely has the feel of a cozy and private place, secluded from the outside world – perfect for anything from enjoying a few evening drinks to an extended dinner.

The drinks list, as one would expect, is predominantly focused on wine, consisting of both Australian and international tipples across the major styles as well as a reasonable selection of local craft beers. Staff are very knowledgeable and extremely when it comes to explaining anything on the wine list, be it one of the bottles or wines by the glass.

The food menu rotates seasonally and focuses on relatively simple, modern food – the steak here is particularly fantastic. Ala carte options are available, and a 4 course chef’s choice menu plus a glass of wine is available on weekends.

Neighbourhood Wine
1 Reid Street
Fitzroy North
Victoria 3068
Australia

Harry & Frankie

Port Melbourne’s Harry & Frankie is, like many of the places on this list, a venue that operates both as a wine shop and a wine bar. The space is modern and sleek, with a very interesting and appealing curved cork ceiling. At the front there’s the cafe section, in the middle the main bar, and towards the back more of a restaurant. The flexibility of the space means that Harry & Frankie is an enticing option for lovers of good wine any time of day.

The wine list matches this casual flexibility, and is approachable in nature with something to fit every budget. A lot of small scale, family producers are features across the extensive bottle selection which can be enjoyed in store or taken away. Wines by the glass are equally appoachable and there are even two wines on tap. To add to the bar’s appeal, there’s a decent selection of local and imported craft beers and spirits on offer for those who are that way inclined.

Food ranges from the always reliable charcuterie and cheese boards through to more filling “grand cru” toasties filled with a variety of ingredients.

For those north of the river, check out the also excellent Harry & Frankie Fitzroy, located upstairs at the Rose Hotel. And if you’re wondering where the name comes from, Harry and Frankie are the owners’ children.

Harry & Frankie
317 Bay Street
Port Melbourne
Victoria 3207
Australia

Brunswick East Wine Store

brunswick east wine store review

Brunswick East Wine Store is a real local’s spot that specialises in fantastic wines to either take away or drink on site. The man you’ll see behind the register/bar most often is owner Tim Cohen, who has a simple philosophy when it comes to the wines he sells – it has to taste good (Tim tries every wine that’s stocked) and represent value for money. There’s a focus on minimal intervention, small independent producers who have a real sense of ‘product of place’ and as a result you are always guaranteed to find something interesting, be it local or international.

If you want to drink your bottle at the shop then you just pay $10 on top of the shelf price and you’re good to go. As for the wines available by the glass, when Sunday rolls along the first four reds and first four whites chosen by customers become the wines that will be available by the glass for the rest of the week. It’s a great idea and means that you never know what might be available, rest assured though it will be a tasty wine.

If you’re after a bite to eat, Brunswick East Wine Store offers a short menu filled with cured meats, cheese, pickled seafood, olives and other tasty bits and pieces.

Brunswick East Wine Store
472 Lygon Street
Brunswick East
Victoria 3057
Australia

Bellota Wine Bar

Belotta Wine Bar is an extension of South Melbourne’s Prince Wine Store and showcases great wines from across the globe in a warm and friendly environment paired with tasty food. There’s an ever-changing selection of wines by the glass, taste and half carafe, as well as some premium selections poured from the Coravin. If it’s a bottle you’re after, then pop next door and you can purchase one of the 4,000 bottles on offer to enjoy. There’s also spirits, beer and cider available for those looking for something other than wine.

Based on a European-style wine bar, the large marble bar features the day’s selection of fresh seafood along with an impressive array of anitpasti, charcuterie and cheeses. For those looking for a more substantial feed, the main menu features larger Spanish, Italian and French influenced options.

Bellota Wine Bar
181 Bank Street
South Melbourne
Victoria 3205
Australia

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Paul
Paul
Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.

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