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What Are The Best Wine Bars In Melbourne?

Choosing a wine bar in Melbourne can be as difficult as choosing a bottle at a local liquor store. Luckily we’ve taken some of the guesswork out of the equation with our list of 9 of the best wine bars in Melbourne that you have to try. Each of these offers a unique experience and focus, with bars shorting from stylish modern interiors to spaces that feel as if you’re in an old friend’s back room. So whether you’re after an Italian red or a locally produced equivalent, there’s a wine bar in this list that will suit your specific desire.

If any city around the world has earned a good, stiff drink, it's the Victorian capital of Melbourne. Fresh off of setting a global precedent with the severity of its COVID-19-induced lockdown, it was through the herculean effort of the Melburnian people that, for all the mental anguish it caused, the city, and the wider state of Victoria, can emerge knowing it's done enough to quash an outbreak that had the chance to become catastrophic.

But with Melbourne's residents already raving about getting on the beers and Premier Daniel Andrews setting his sights on the top shelf, we thought we'd snoop out the best places specialising in the drop that cosmopolitan Melburnians enjoy the best: Wine. Thankfully, the good folks at Wineslinger have come to the rescue, establishing the annual list of the Top Wine Venues in Australia, as determined by a cross-section of Australia’s leading figures in wine and hospitality.

As Melbourne's prominence in the overall list shows, you won’t be stumped to find a decent wine bar around, with recently re-opened areas like Fitzroy, Prahran, Brunswick, and the CBD buzzing with venues that serve the best wine and sensational food to go along with it So, without further ado, here are the places you need to head if you’re after the best wine bars Melbourne has to offer.

Wine Venues In Melbourne

Underwood Wine Bar | Fitzroy North

Underwood Wine Bar in Fitzroy North is a champion of all things Australian. Owner and sommelier Michael Underwood is committed to supporting local growers and has curated a small but exciting drinks list showcasing local winemakers and brewers from around the state. Like the wine list, the charcuterie board is locally sourced, with all components coming from local businesses and producers. If you’d prefer something a little less fancy than a charcuterie board, give one of their delicious cheese toasties a try (the Grilled capsicum, cheese, + pesto is not to be missed)

Bellota | South Melbourne

A bottle of red wine with two glasses be found in a classic Victorian building. Bellota Wine Bar is the welcome extension of the renowned Prince Wine Store, which boasts a selection of over 3,500 bottles. Bellota takes full advantage of this to offer arguably one of Melbourne's best and most extensive wine lists. There is a food menu to match their impressive and ever-changing wine offerings. As well as the expected selection of bar snacks and antipasti, there is also a more substantial menu of full-sized mains, including steamed mussels and lamb shoulder ragu.

Marion | Fitzroy

Shelf of red Wine Andrew McConnel’s Marion is a wine bar for enthusiasts. Located on Fitzroy’s Gertrude Street, Marion spans two shopfronts next door to Melbourne’s favourite restaurants Cutler & Co. The wine list at Marion is impressive and comprehensive, showing off some of the best wines from around the world. The interior is an industrial-style fit-out, perfectly marrying vintage and modern aesthetics, making for a space where you’re likely to go in for a glass, but want to stay for a bottle. We recommend trying to snag a prime position at a table in the front windows, so you can enjoy the sun and watch the world go by while you sample the wines on offer. Note, however, there may be some fierce competition for these tables!

Bar Carolina

Sleek and slim as its South Yarra clientele, you don't need to be regular to be greeted with genuine brio, to enjoy the casual polish of a waiter silver-serving rich pork rotor at the table, or to appreciate details such as the steak knives that come with rosy duck breast and wilted silverbeet. Desserts are technique savvy takes on classics: the signature spherical white chocolate tiramisu remains as glossy as the surroundings. Were you looking for a little privacy? Head for the darkly glamorous two-tops opposite the charcoal-coloured bar. Were you looking for something a little more lively? There's a new rooftop cocktail bar, Tetto, if you want to kick on.

Bar Liberty

You'll see the lively informality and sincere hospitality before you even walk in the door. Slink inside this small, spirited wine bar, and it's all dim and cosy with snacky, shareable food. You might start with mussel dip on a crisp chip or prawns doused with smoked chilli. Liberty classics include sourdough flatbread presented with scissors that make sharing a snip and bucatini cacio e Pepe. The exuberant drinks list and sensitive service underline Liberty's welcoming ethos. Book the 'bosses table' in the anteroom if you're in a small group.

Bar Lourinha

It's hard not to feel smug when you've scored a barstool here, where you're part of a convivial tableau that's beckoning every passer-by. It's always worth seeing what the bolthole kitchen at the bar's end is conjuring: perhaps sticky quail sweetened with curling slices of persimmon or beetroots roughened up with dry ricotta. Service is swift, so stagger your order, take a few drink detours and keep a bowl of pickled peppers on the go. Melbourne's cornerstone of Euro-centric dining is a squeezable space, so a spontaneous drop-in is always worth a shot.

Cumulus Up

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Originally devised as a holding pen for the oversubscribed Cumulus Inc., this darker, slicker bar, a floor above the restaurant, has become a dining and drinking destination in its own right. The food and public offering style are similar upstairs as it is downstairs - think house-made maltagliati pasta with a cuttlefish 'bolognese', or wagyu skirt steak with fries or roast spuds this is technically a wine bar, so booze and snacks are on equal footing. As for the snacks, the duck waffle with foie gras and prune puree has been a menu fixture since the bar opened in 2013. It's everything you've come to expect from Cumulus Inc., but with a casual elegance that sets it apart.

Embla

Many a Melburnian's favourite date spots feature dark-and-saloon decor with accents of copper and brick and mismatched Deco lamps. Wine bar or restaurant? It's both in the best possible way. But, again, it slingshots you back to Melbourne's early small-bar days, only this time, the chairs are real, and the Melbourne Bitter is a Kolsch. So settle in and let the good times roll, as the wood-fired kitchen does a mean bavette and one of the city's best roast chickens, but vegetables are the heroes here. They're often dressed with dairy, like the soured cucumbers (compulsory) laid over whipped feta, while desserts flip into fruit and dairy, perhaps a wobbly and delicate passionfruit posset.

Gerald's Bar

If these walls could talk, they'd know all the best stories from the in-the-know locals and visitors who pack this relaxed, romantic wine bar. It's a bit like crashing an intimate house party, with nooks, crannies and quirky ephemera arranged around a curved bar with a running ladder adorned with a handwritten menu of the day. Drink-friendly, seasonal fare is served without airs or graces: soft pork and veal meatballs with salty tomato, perhaps, or molten-hot eggplant with umami-rich sesame dressing ready to spread on sourdough. Dessert is worth saving space for - a gloriously soft-centred chocolate pudding with the slightest crunch at the edges. Just like Geralds, it's a classic for a reason.

Marion

Is it a wine bar? Is it a diner? It's all those things plus more. With its killer cellar, a smart-casual buzz and deft, booze-savvy service, it works perfectly well as a place to drink great Victorian wines along with a lush global offering. But also, it is a place to eat. And eat well. If you were looking for a through-line, it might be full flavours foregrounded in peak production. Soft little buns hold prawns poached and well, accented with horseradish, while the warmth of chilli oil and tang of basil show summer tomatoes at their best. Can't decide what to eat? Get the share-style 'chef's selection' set menu for $65 or $85 ahead.

Willows & Wine | West Melbourne

A short stroll from Queen Victoria Market in West Melbourne, you’ll find Willows & Wine. Along with bottles of wine, the walls are stacked high with pre-loved books, organised according to the genre. Of course, you’re welcome to pick one up and read while you sip, and if you can’t put it down, don’t worry, as they’re all available for purchase. If books aren’t your thing, there’s also a large communal table, complete with plenty of board games to try out. Willows & wine is a great place for a glass of wine and a cheese board on a quiet afternoon or a catch-up with old friends alike.

Milton Wine Shop

While many of the best wine bars in Melbourne are to be found in the leafy northern suburbs, Milton Wine Shop is the champion that the southern suburbs deserve. Located in Malvern in Melbourne’s southeast, Milton doubles as a wine retailer, offering a huge selection of wines that can be enjoyed in-store and at home.

They have a particular penchant for biodynamic, natural wines made with no preservatives or other additives. Although a little was more expensive, these natural wines are worth a try, as they are touted as being less likely to give you a hangover (though this is still dependent on how much you drink, of course). In addition, Milton Wine Shop has a strict “no wine snobbery” policy at the bar, with customers encouraged to ask questions and broaden their palates at their own pace without being made to feel self-conscious.

However, to make sure you enjoy that kind of wine experience, you need to choose the right wine bar. Try looking for a wine bar with a large selection of great wines, a welcoming and upscale atmosphere, and food to complement their wines. And consider coming to PINSTACK.

Bellota Wine Bar chef Nicky Riemer grew up surrounded by hospitality: her father was a hotelier and passed on his love of food to his daughter.

A wine bar is a tavern-like business focusing on selling wine, rather than liquor or beer. A typical feature of many wine bars is a wide selection of wines available by the glass. In addition, some wine bars are profiled on wines of a certain type of origin, such as Italian wine or Champagne.

Wine Bar Profit Margin

You can expect a net profit margin of around 7–10% for a wine bar. Just a little less than a standard bar. That's because you'll likely be selling more wine bottle retail than you'll be serving at the bar. In addition, the wine itself has a higher average pour cost than beer and liquor pour cost.

A serious wine bar has a minimum of 25 wines available by the glass and takes you from dry to sweet and from Champagne to Port.

Red Wine Should Be Served Cool — 60 to 70 degrees.

To cool red down to its proper temperature, we like to place it in the fridge an hour before serving it. However, you can put it in the freezer for just 15 minutes for quicker results.

Just as you store open white wine in the refrigerator, you should refrigerate red WineWine after opening. Beware that more subtle red wines, like Pinot Noir, can start turning "flat" or tasteless fruit-driven after a few days in the refrigerator.

Open bottles are held in glass-fronted cases, and each bottle is attached to a fixture. As the dispenser siphons wine from the bottle, an inert gas such as nitrogen or argon fills the space, keeping oxygen out. As a result, the dispensers keep wines at ideal serving temperatures for whites and reds.

5 Tips for Storing Opened Wine

  • Re-cork It Right. The first rule of preserving your wine is to replace the cork correctly.
  • Use Half Bottles. Air flattens your wine, lessening flavours and aromas.
  • Refrigerate It.
  • Don't “Open” It.
  • Finish It.

FAQs About The Wine Bars In Melbourne

City Wine Shop

While it may look more like a high-end bottle shop, City Wine Shop is more dedicated the in-house drinking, with each of the 800 or so bottles on the vast shelves and in the fridges readily available to drink amidst the shop's luxe, wood-lined surroundings.

Old Palm Liquor

Now built into the same venue as the Neighbourhood mentioned above, Old Palm Liquor is a sister bar and restaurant featuring a wood-burning grill, a South African-inspired menu, and a 400-strong collection of mostly natural wines.

This entirely tan sequel to chef Almay Jordaan, Simon Denman and Marc Banytis' Fitzroy North bistro, Neighbourhood Wine, is a definitive wine bar with wings: a suburb-based, fire-fuelled, female-chaffed, vinyl-soundtracked and wood-panelled wonderland that doesn't shout about minimal intervention wines or plant-based eating but is offering one of Melbourne's finest examples of both. The kicker? You won't even know. The fit-out – a festival of chocolate brown and chubby maroon bar stools; hand-labelled bottles neatly racked behind the bar; a fireside reading nook; and fan propellers gently whipping overhead – ignites some deep '70s nostalgia you didn't know you had.

Neighbourhood Wine

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Located on the site of a former gangster’s ‘gentleman’s’ club, AKA a gambling den, Neighbourhood's 80s vibe serves as the perfect stage for a 500+ strong wine list that skews towards minimal interventionism.

The Alps

A wine shop bar fusion (or Enoteca) in the mould of places like City Wine Shop and Gertrude Street Enoteca, The Alps focuses on wines from regions flanking that same mountain range. However, local offerings are also shown in what evolved into a 400 bin wine list, available either to drink there or take home.

Conclusion:

It’s certainly true that Melbournians love their wine, so it should come as no surprise how many amazing wine bars there are to choose from. The variety of bars is almost as wide as the variety of wine you might expect to find on offer at any of them. While hopefully, this list has helped you narrow down which bar to visit. Unfortunately, we can’t help you choose which Wine to order. That bit is entirely up to you, Again like what others say Choosing a wine bar in Melbourne can be as difficult as choosing a bottle at a local liquor store.

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