Geelong’s top wine bars and restaurants
Victoria’s city of Geelong has a thriving wine scene. While the Esplanade or Eastern Beach might be the perfect place to have a picnic, take in the sunset and enjoy your favourite Best’s Wine while watching the Festival of Sails, there’s also plenty of fabulous wine bars and restaurants to settle into and sample some great wines.
Our team is often out and about in the local Geelong area, where there are many long-term supporters of Best’s Wines. So we’ve done the hard work for you and unearthed some hidden treasures!
What began as a one local family’s collection of wines has turned into this delightful wine bar in Belmont. With over 90 wines available by the glass, some using the Coravin system to issue tastes of rare, old bottles and ensure freshness, Archive also boasts a vast collection of hard-to-find spirits and craft beers. But the first love here is wine and that is reflected in the food menu, with every dish paired to several wines on the menu. This is a must visit if you want to explore Victorian wines without leaving Geelong.
Union St Wine
Union St Wine is not just a funky wine bar, it’s also a wine store where you can take out a subscription and have specially selected wines delivered to your door. Head to the wine bar, select a bottle at bottle shop prices and enjoy it alongside some wine-friendly snacks, such as cheese and charcuterie. If you’re having trouble selecting a wine, call on the knowledgeable staff who will guide you – you might learn something in the process, too.
Tulip has been part of the Geelong food and wine scene for five years thanks to its focus on quality local produce that relates to food as well as wine. Everything is designed to be shared and the atmosphere is relaxed so it’s easy to settle in with a group of friends and while away a few hours enjoying delicious food and wine.
The 18th Amendment Bar
Named after the 18th amendment to the American constitution that saw prohibition of liquor become law in the US, The 18th Amendment Bar, may look like a 1920s speakeasy but it is most definitely legal to have a tipple here! There is an extensive cocktail menu featuring popular drinks from the prohibition era as well as modern takes on the classics. There is a short but interesting wine list too, but we come for the cocktails before going out for dinner.
A stalwart on the Geelong dining scene for over 30 years, Empire Grill offers modern Australian food with Asian influences using locally sourced ingredients. The five-course degustation with wine offers great value and a way to sample the chef’s favourites in one sitting. It is also open for lunch and there are kid’s meals on offer. The wine list is broad ranging from France and New Zealand to local heroes.
Bottles & Barrels
A bottle shop that makes some the best coffee in town as well as dishing up delicious food, yes, that is exactly what Bottles & Barrels does. Pop in for breakfast, lunch or just a latte and peruse the shelves lined with local, family-owned producers, with a focus on pinot noir – arguably Geelong’s stand-out variety. Pop in for a browse, we’re sure you won’t leave empty-handed!
Geelong Cellar Door
If you are short on time but want to sample a variety of Geelong’s vinous offerings, head to Geelong Cellar Door. In stylish surrounds – think white walls, timber floors and tan leather bench seats – you can sample local favourites by the glass while snacking on wine-friendly fare. They also hold regular tastings, feature a local winery each month, and you can purchase bottles to take away.
Experience South American flavours without leaving Geelong at Alma where fun and laughter is encouraged while sharing a delicious meal and a top-notch wine. What more could you ask for? Yes, a glass of our rosé, we think it goes beautifully with most of the food offerings. We also recommend finishing your meal with one of the liqueurs or fortifieds from the Liquid Desserts menu.
This is a pub, but not an old-fashioned watering hole, Centra Hotel has clean lines, modern styling, and a courtyard for you to relax and enjoy a glass of wine and some hearty Italian food. You can’t go past the pastas and pizzas. But make sure you leave room for dessert.
How could we not include a restaurant called Shiraaz! Many say it is the best Indian in Geelong and it’s hard to argue. Get a group together, arrive hungry and have one of the banquets so you can decide for yourself. We suggest that you BYO favourite Best’s wine – and Bin No. 1 Shiraz is always a good match along with the Great Western Riesling!
Wharf Shed Pavilion
New kid on the block, Wharf Shed Pavilion has a unique glass and timber venue with spectacular views of the Bay. The food is modern Australian with local favourites, including fried Port Phillip Bay Calamari, as well as regional wines. Try it and let us know what you think.
If you’re heading to Great Western to visit our cellar door after sampling the best Geelong has to offer make sure you stop off in Ballarat and call in at Mitchell Harris. Housed in a refurbished 1870s produce store and workshop, this cosy wine bar is a showcase of Western Victorian wines. Sip on a glass or two in the warm afternoon sun or by the fire, depending on the season, and order snacks or a full meal from the menu.
Alternatively, if you’re driving along the Great Ocean Road to see the 12 Apostles you’ll also be spoilt with food and wine options. A short drive from Geelong along the Great Ocean Road is A La Grecque at Aireys Inlet, an Australian/Greek restaurant that is family-friendly, serves super-fresh seafood and has a top-notch wine – a winning combination.
For other venues along the Great Ocean Road, read our blog to find more of our favourite places to stop off and refuel.