From basement cellars to tiny taverns, Melbourne has the wine bar experience on tap. You’ll find your favourite tipple in this cherry-picked selection.
An entirely vegetarian wine bar has opened its stunning Art Deco doors near the Vic Market. Elevated veggie dishes are each inspired by wine regions. Feast on the fanciest empanadas this side of Spain. Then rendezvous in Greece for a leek and Kefalograviera cheese pie. Finish on liquid desserts like the rhubarb sorbetto with sparkling wine. Visit during Apero Hour for half price cocktails every night from 5pm to 6pm.
With a firm focus on the long lunch and after-work drinks crowd, Dame is a new concept for the Paris end of Collins Street. Draw back the sheer pink curtain and unveil opulent interiors, marble benchtops and floral centrepieces. Pair your cheese-loaded 'Muffuletta' sandwich with a cheeky lunchtime rosé. Or visit after work until 7pm for King Valley prosecco, French champagne and Yarra Valley pinot by the bottle.
Euro-style Greta Is known for its premium wine selection, decadent gruyere toasties and fun-filled aperitivo hours. Pop by Thursday and Friday from 4pm to 5pm for cocktails, snacks, wine and more. Hungry? Order the beef-cheek baguette with mozzarella and pesto, and dip into zingy Napoli sugo for an instant carb-hit. Greta’s well-curated wines hail from Tuscany and Tassie, the Loire and Yarra valleys.
It’s easy to miss the little dogleg alley off an arcade off a lane that is Presgrave Place. This is where you’ll find Bar Americano, Melbourne’s smallest bar. Can’t find it? Look for the blue ‘T’ sign. With only room for 10 standing patrons, you need to hustle to sample their classy old-school cocktails. Good news though – they’ve now added outdoor seating.
V Wine Salon
Part boutique wine bar, part provedore. V Wine Salon is a French-inspired wine and cheese haven with a firm focus on sustainability. Pick your favourite bottle from the wall to take home, or sit and savour it in the bar. Add a plate of charcuterie from small-scale producers and make a date with the cheese trolley. Choose from a curated selection of gourmet fromage, perfectly paired with wines from around the globe.
The Melbourne Cellar Door
You’re spoiled for choice at the Melbourne Cellar Door, with more than 60 wines served by the glass. Beer-lovers take heart: there are over 130 craft beers in the fridge. Whatever your drinks preference, the globetrotting food menu is designed to be shared. How about a Spanish platter, Moroccan skewers and crispy chicken bao? With Sicilian cannoli to finish.
Hemingway’s Wine Room
Cosy up on the leafy side of town at Hemingway’s. Bar shelves lined with bottles and books lend a bohemian vibe, while the brasserie’s red leather banquettes are pure Paris. The wine list is indulgent and extensive, with drops from Japan, France, Spain and Italy. Closer to home you'll find the best of the Clare Valley, Mornington Peninsula and Gippsland. All of which pair delightfully well with delights from the roaming cheese trolley.
Wednesday to Friday, teeny Cathedral Coffee morphs into a convivial late-opener. So swap your latte for standout food and wine, and pull up a chair under Cathedral Arcade’s Art Deco ceiling. Bar snacks are inventive, featuring top locally grown seasonal veggies. Who can resist white asparagus and green tomatoes? Natural wines are sourced from around the country.
Willows & Wine
What goes better with wine than cheese? A good book! You get the trifecta at Willows & Wine, a West Melbourne favourite. Potent and virgin cocktails also join the menu, along with beer. Books can be purchased, board games are available, and bites include mushroom pâté and feta with lavosh. Small or large shareboards come with cheese and/or salumi.
Settle in at the bar and admire Agostino’s line-up of Italian wines. From your barstool perch, sip on prosecco from the Veneto or rosy-red Tuscan chianti. Pair with pizza-bread nibbles, salami or frites. To linger longer, order a bowl of calamari fritti or spinach tortellini. Browse the full wine list to take home something special from the on-site bottle shop.
City Wine Shop
At the City Wine Shop, you choose a bottle from the wall of wines, then drink it at the bar. Or outside at a pavement table from noon to midnight. Food is brought in from the European next door, and crosses several borders as you’d expect. Start in Greece with saganaki, then jump to London for St John’s bone marrow. Or stay in Italy with salumi and gnocchi pomodoro.
With its underground location and European touch, Juliet can’t help feel romantic and a tad clandestine. Relax on the sofa or at a lantern-lit table, and savour wines produced by female winemakers. Enjoy with items from the seasonal, artisan-led menu of bar bites. Maybe herb focaccia, cod fritters or Wagyu tartare. Pride of place goes to local oysters and prime charcuterie.
Atmospheric bottle store Bijou serves wine by the glass until the wee hours. The candlelit shelves are laden with boutique labels from near and far. Ease the imbibing with delectable morsels on hand. Soak up sardines and port parfait with chunks of baguette, or a slice of farmhouse terrine. Before you know it, you’ll be best friends with your neighbours in this intimate drinking den.
Life's Too Short Bar
Wander down a hidden East Melbourne arcade to discover this delightful date night spot. Starting its life as a cellar in 1834, Life's Too Short has since grown into a sweet little bar serving vintage wines, bespoke cocktails and global cheese selections. The venue hosts regular events, drink-pairing sessions, wine tastings and even a boutique alcohol distillery on premises. See what's coming up at Life's Too Short.
Handpicked Wines Cellar Door
Try before you buy with a guided wine tasting at Handpicked’s urban cellar door. They promote Australia’s best regional wines. For the full experience, order a flight in the Sensory Bar to learn about cheese and wine pairing from the experts. Choose a cheese and charcuterie platter or raise the bar with a canapé package. It includes caviar, oysters and chocolate-truffle gnocchi.
More of the best cosy winter wine bars in Melbourne
Casual wine bar and restaurant with an open-plan space and wood fire and grill.
Last updated on Wed 5 Oct 2022
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