Our 5 Favourite Wine Bars in Melbourne
Living in Australia’s gastronomic capital means we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to where to eat, drink and be merry. While us folk at Wine Compass like to spend our weekends getting out into the country to experience the breadth and beauty offered by many wonderful cellar doors at wineries around the state state, our weeknights are spend sipping on glasses in cosy nooks and corners around the city. There are many more to choose from, but if we had to pick, here’s our two cents on Melbourne’s best wine bars:
This wine bar has been in business for nearly 15 years, which is saying something when you consider the turnover of venues these days. City Wine Shop, which is owned by and run by the team behind the European (which is just next door), has become an institution. The space operates as both a retail shop and a quanty wine bar, boasting a solid list of Old and New World wines and a lovely selection of meats, cheeses and olives that you can snack on while you sit at the shop’s quaint, Euro-style tables on Spring Street.
Andrew McConnell has come to be known as the king of dining and drinking in Melbourne, so when he announced his plan to open Marion, a wine bar next door to his established Cutler and Co., the pressure was on. Sure enough, the restaurant did not disappoint. The dedicated wine bar has a relaxed yet indulgent atmosphere, and wine list and menu to match – both of which somehow seem to work for any occasion, at any time of day – brunch on the weekend with a glass of crémant, happy hour for a casual glass of crisp rosé, a swanky dinner with a fine bottle of Burgundy… whatever your agenda, Marion fits the bill. Their Deadman’s Dozen is also well worth exploring.
Each month, Marion releases the Deadman’s Dozen, a mixed selection of 12 wines from their list for purchase at a flat rate of $270 – a great way to try new wines you might not otherwise go for
This little venue (though it can house more than you think) really put approachable but quality wine bars back on the map – with Banjo Harris Plane at the helm (one of Australia’s current favourite somms/importers), the list is a real treat – a mix of Old World and New World with a great selection of Australian producers. It’s not too traditional, featuring up and coming winemakers doing fun and interesting things, as well as some funky drinks outside of the wine category. There is really something for everyone here. The food is also bang on (don’t skip the mussel dip crisps!).
In the spirit of Melbourne’s secret nooks and crannies, Juliet is a cool modern yet comfy space below Little Bourke Street’s Punch Lane. The buzzing wine bar heroes female Aussie winemakers, which is something we’re more than happy to support. The food menu consists of a few cheeses and charcuterie, classic Raclette and a few mains, as well as a couple of desserts – this spot is an ideal place to end the night with a nibble of cheese and glass of Riesling, or their epic ‘Night Cap’ dessert.
Last but certainly not least, this joint is a favourite to many, particularly those who are lucky enough to be locals, and for good reason. Produce and wine rotate regularly, featuring whatever the guys behind the cosy wooden bar are loving at the moment, and whatever is in season. Describe what you feel like trying, and they will likely be able to muster up a glass to meet your needs.
Napier Quarter, above, is another great pick for wine bars in Melbourne
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other great wine bars in Melbourne, like Congress, Eva on Drummond and Napier Quarter, to name a few. It of course depends on the vibe you like and the wine you’re into, but we reckon the above 5 rarely disappoint.
Check out some more Melbourne wine and food with our list of the best events at the 2018 MFWF.
For more interesting wine stuff, follow us on: