Gentlemen, it’s time to leave your whisky bibles at home. When it comes to astonishing Australian wine, no one does it better than the lovely species of Melbourne. We’re talking about Melbourne wine bars.
Blame it on their pms-ing weather or their proximity to the virgin soil of prized vineyards. Whatever the reason this is one city that nails the red, white and everything in between when it comes to sheer diversity and palate.
If you fancy yourself the serious wine connoisseur then put down that goon bag and take a trip to these top Melbourne wine establishments for a tipple.
City Wine Shop
Good things come in pairs and that has certainly been the case for this traditional wine bar which also doubles as a bottle shop. The iconic City Wine Shop is the product of a collective who also run some of the city’s hottest drinking holes. This means that the character and charm oozes the moment you walk in and doesn’t stop until you’ve got a nice tipple in your hand or decent bottle on your way out. A fine selection of European wines is the specialty here and there’s enough to satisfy the most curious palate along with cheeses from the grocer next door.
CRU is the place to be when the sun begins to set and the cravings for a fine glass of red beckons. The cosy front bar flows seamlessly into the private dining room which makes for one memorable dinner complete with access to CRU’s resident wine guy who’ll happily show you the ropes. Not that you’d need it…
The Ugly Duckling
Ugly is a subjective word and in our opinion this place is damn sexy in a stripped back kind of way. The Ugly Duckling is a contemporary table service cocktail and wine bar but it’s so much more than that. Designed to reflect a high-end residential living space, wine bar is intimate yet sophisticated, with a light-filled seating area at the rear and a moody, monolithic bar upon entrance. The wine on offer here is also ace, with a specially curated wine list boasting the best in local and international beverages. Antipasto style food is also available for pairing with wines so you can go home both happy and full.
The efficiency of Melbourne folk can’t be argued with. Want your wine to go after a decent session with friends? No problem. Toorak Cellars is both a bottle shop and wine bar which sources and acquires some of the best wines from around the world at any price point. The bar boasts a rotating wine menu via 20 different labels to ensure that every drop is unique and full of flavour.
Dinner, wine and damn good company is what Host Brunswick is all about. The guys and girls here do a fine job of cooking, pouring and serving from the heart which makes for one great dinner party experience you’ll be remembering for a while. The wine here is concise and focused, with a celebration of small and exciting producers both locally and abroad. Drop by New Brunswick for casual new age drinking with a splash of old fashioned hospitality.
Elwood locals have something to be happy about with The Milton serving up over 120 wines to the thirsty crowds in a raw brick and wood space that glistens way into the night. Whether it be for an after work stint or something a bit more romantic, guests can sample the wine and cheese pairings as the night goes on.
Bellota Wine Bar
Bellota brings to fruition a long-held desire to provide a venue that showcases the great wines of the world in an exuberant setting alongside beautifully executed food. Borrowing aspects from the European bar culture the space boasts a sweeping bespoke bar, a large salumi/cheese cabinet and a traditional leather banquette. Wine is of course the name of the game here with a constantly changing selection of wines by the glass, taste and half carafe, as well as some premium selections poured from the Coravin. If that’s not enough guests can slide into the wine store next door with over 4,000 bottles in stock.
Smalls is a wine bar in South Melbourne with a focus on small wine producers from all over the world. With seating for just 24 people and a walk-in only policy, the establishment can easily modify their wine list and food pairings with haste. Smalls also offers takeaway bottle service if you want to savour that last drop at home.
Be enthralled by the uninterrupted views of Spring Street and the Parliament House from the rooftop quarters of Siglo. It’s an extravagant affair for those who looking for something special in terms of service, wine, cocktails and a decent late night atmosphere. Siglo is popular amongst groups so if you’re keen for a celebration make sure to book ahead for space overlooking the side as sunset comes around. Did someone say Melbourne date spot?
Carlton Wine Room
The Carlton Wine Room is all about the old school, boasting warm, instinctive hospitality paired with wholesome European food, and a wine list that “flits easily between ‘textural’ and Italian varieties from the Old and New worlds”. That means it’s pretty damn good in our language. Good for small gatherings or groups, this is a must-visit for wine junkies.