Melbourne is arguably the birthplace of wine bars in Australia. They are seemingly everywhere you turn – tucked away down lanes, sitting proudly on corners in hip neighbourhoods, perched on rooftops so you can watch the sunset, in an intimate timber-lined room in the heart of the city. The Melbourne wine bar scene is diverse and there are so many options to choose from.
As a proud Victorian winery, we love supporting the wine bar scene in our Melbourne and you’ll often find Best’s wines on these lists. So to help you plan your next night out, here is a list of our favourite Melbourne wine bars that we’ve compiled with our distributor Fesq & Company. It’s guaranteed to help you find a new venue to enjoy a glass or two of fine wine.
You could easily mistake Punch Lane for a cosy wine bar in Europe, except that it’s located at the top end of Little Bourke St. Sink into one of the brown leather club chairs or prop yourself up at the bar and peruse the list. The wine offerings are extensive, with lots of highlights. You might want to settle in for a while with a cheese board or stay on for dinner – you can’t go wrong here. Punch Lane’s properties, Juliet Melbourne, tucked into a basement next door and great for cocktails, and Saint Urban, a much-loved local in Richmond, are also worth investigating.
This is a Melbourne institution and has been welcoming patrons since 1998 staying open to the early hours of the morning serving supper and more substantial dishes. But we come for the wine. You could spend hours reading the red leather-bound wine list and pondering your decision. Many famous names pop up from Australia – Best’s included – and abroad from regions such as Mosel, Barolo, Burgundy and Bordeaux.
Is Siglo in Paris or Melbourne? Parisian wicker chairs will add to your confusion at this open-air rooftop terrace bar. It sits above The Melbourne Supper Club and wine comes from its extensive cellar. Enjoy a crisp glass of our Best’s Great Western Riesling or a cocktail made from premium spirits.
Relatively new to the Melbourne eating and drinking scene, this Viking-themed bar is quirky and lots of fun. It’s the place to go to try Scandinavian-inspired food and cocktails. You’ll learn about Scandinavian gods like Thor as you read the drinks list, which features great wine. A unique night out is guaranteed at Mjølner.
If it’s something a little different you’re after in the heart of the city, this brightly decorated Peruvian-influenced restaurant and bar is a must. Here, chef Alejandro Saravia offers an edible journey “from the coast, over the Andes, and to the jungle”. Food ranges from a variety of ceviche (cured seafood) through smoked and chargrilled, spit-roasted meats on the parilla to rich South American desserts. An impressive drinks list that includes pisco cocktails and plenty of South American wines also features a Cellar Reserve section, where you’ll find our own Bin 0 Shiraz – perfect for that sizzling dry-aged steak.
If it’s (very) late-night drinking and dining you’re after, head to this bustling basement spot, the sort of French-style brasserie you’d find in New York. A good wine list with plenty by the glass, mini Martinis, and arguably Melbourne’s best (but certainly richest) late-night burger on the supper menu are ensuring that Bar Margaux is packed to the rafters every night (and on Fridays and Saturdays, that means until 5am). Early birds can check in for ‘Golden Hour’ between 4pm and 6pm for bargain oysters and Champagne instead, while night owls get the same deal from 12am.
Classic Chinese cooking with a contemporary twist is the theme here, but the highlight of this Melbourne laneway venue is its basement Good Luck Bar. Here, a more limited selection of acclaimed chef Victor Liong’s upstairs menu is on offer alongside a great list of cocktails (with a focus on Martinis) featuring interesting independent distilleries and fine wines by the glass. And what better to match with a crispy spring onion pancake than a glass of Best’s Foudre Ferment Riesling?
Set on a corner with big glass windows so you can watch the world pass by, Luxsmith is a “bar and wine store”. It’s the perfect place to hang out with friends or pick up a bottle to match dinner at home. There is wine every way you turn, so choosing which one becomes your only problem at this relaxed, neighbourhood venue.
The bar and table and chairs are separated by a wall of wine at this stylish wine bar/bottle shop. Select a bottle from the display and you can either take it home or pay a small corkage fee and enjoy it inhouse. Order a plate of charcuterie and some share plates and there is not much else you could wish for.
This brasserie/wine store and cocktail bar is a go-to neighbourhood favourite for everything from breakfast to cocktails (including a daily happy hour). The extensive, international-focused wine list makes for great reading (and drinking), and you can buy a bottle at the Winestore, then enjoy it with snacks at the bar. Or settle in for a perfect steak from the Brasserie’s showcase grill menu.
A truly community-spirited centre for all things wine and food, The Recreation is as much about bringing like-minded people together at a shared table as it is about fostering artisan producers and winemakers. Become a member to gain access to unique masterclasses, events and offers, as well as the weekly ‘Gather’ Sunday Roast dinners.
You can have it both ways at this relatively new Euro-influenced bistro (Frédéric) and café/ bar (Fréd’s). Book at the restaurant for a terrific lunch (including a speedy midweek two-course Formule Expresse menu), or dinner menu of updated brasserie-style fare. Fréd’s starts as a breakfast destination, then eases through the day into cocktails and late-night digestifs, with a weekly changing menu of casual food to match. A wine list offering international and local labels, including Best’s Great Western Riesling, is a treat in itself, and there are plenty to choose by the glass.
The Melbourne wine and food scene is constantly evolving, with venues popping up all over town, so head out with your friends and discover the latest hotspots as well as old favourites.
Image Credit: Siglo Bar