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The best wine bars in Melbourne

It wasn't easy, but we sipped red, white and rosé across the city to bring you this guide to the finest wine times in town

Food at The Alps
Photograph: Graham Denholm
By Time Out editors |
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Whether you're looking for a bar in the north, south, east, or west of our fair city, Time Out Melbourne has got all points of the compass covered. Walk into any of these top-notch wine bars and you're guaranteed service by staff who know what they're talking about, a great atmosphere, and of course, a solid wine list. And being the snack-loving city we are, you can bet these venues are no slouch in the kitchen, either.

For more carefully curated guides to Melbourne's drinking culture, head to our favourite cocktail bars, rooftop bars and whisky bars.  

The best wine bars Melbourne has to offer

1
Pouring drinks at Bar Liberty
Photograph: Graham Denholm
Bars, Wine bars

Bar Liberty

icon-location-pin Fitzroy

To drink at Liberty is to revel in the best of all booze. The only rule about each drop here is that it must be a superlative example of its style. Whether it’s wine, cider, cocktails, whisky, vermouth or even housemade soda, every item on the long menu is carefully curated, the variety and quality on offer hard to overstate.

2
People inside at Gerald's Bar
Photograph: Carmen Zammit
Bars, Wine bars

Gerald's Bar

icon-location-pin Carlton North

Ten years since its inception, this snug bar still sets the benchmark for neighbourhood boozing, with charismatic staff, handpicked imports by the glass and a menu that, like the wine list, draws heavily from Europe.

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3
Food at Carlton Wine Room
Photograph: Graham Denholm
Restaurants

The Carlton Wine Room

icon-location-pin Carlton

As much a restaurant as it is a wine bar, Carlton Wine Room comes to you from three industry veterans who have worked under the McConnell and Bartholomew empires. Upstairs is reserved for serious diners, but the front bar and street seating is open for you to drop in for a glass or a cocktail. It gets a little hairy once the sun sets, so strategise or you could be left waiting for a seat.

4
Dish and wine at Embla
Bars, Wine bars

Embla

icon-location-pin Melbourne

Is Embla a wine bar? That’s a quintessentially Melbourne question of existential proportions. Anyone wanting to humour their assertion could simply point to a wine list that changes like a chameleon and where low-interventionism is the north star. It’s the kind of list where the words “organic” and “bio-dynamic” are only a sommelier away, but fear not: the strike rate here is far higher than at similarly ethosed places.

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5
Marion Wine Bar
Bars, Wine bars

Marion

icon-location-pin Fitzroy

This classic Andrew McConnell venue has some natural advantages over any competitors. For one thing, sharing the vast cellar of Cutler & Co means Marion can lay claim to being the best-stocked wine bar in the 'hood, but in reality there’s no need to venture beyond the shorter list purpose-built for Marion, stuffed with all kinds of vinous excitement by the glass.

6
Dining at Cumulus Up
Photograph: Graham Denholm
Bars, Craft beer

Cumulus Up Wine Bar

icon-location-pin Melbourne

The great thing about having a wine bar attached to a casual fine-diner with a cracking cellar is that you get access to all of it, but in a more relaxed and social environment. You’d be forgiven for thinking the big, leather bound list at Cumulus Up is full of untouchable museum bottles. Not so. Flipping through, you’ll find a long but impressively engaging and easy to use guide to wine varietals.

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7
City Wine Shop
Bars, Wine bars

City Wine Shop

icon-location-pin Melbourne

The City Wine Shop makes for a great long fancy lunch, however, the price tag here is incredibly reasonable for a place whose neighbours include Melbourne institutions The Supper Club and The European. The staff here are wine connoisseurs and they want to talk wine. It’s a great spot for an outside lunch or an indoor wine haunt when you want to hide from the elements.

8
Wine on racks at Kirk's Wine Room
Bars, Wine bars

Kirk's Wine Bar

icon-location-pin Melbourne

Amid all the mediocre pasta and manhandling, the warm glow of Kirk’s Wine Bar shines extra bright. Years have passed, but it feels as essential as ever, proving that a classic wine bar, done well, never goes out of fashion. Their list is as deep as it is broad, paying respect to all the old-world staples before giving equal ardour to trailblazing makers like Radikon and local innovators like Memento Mori.

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9
Pouring glass of wine at The Moon Melbourne
Bars, Wine bars

The Moon

icon-location-pin Collingwood

The Moon feels more like the VIP room of a nightclub or a sleek cocktail lounge than a wine bar, but that's part of its charm. Along one long wall, beautifully labelled take-away bottles are lit like art in a gallery. The list of wines by the glass is a good balance of approachable and more out-there natural stuff, with a slant towards Alsatian styles.

10
Neighbourhood Wine interior 02
Photograph: Vince Caligiuri
Bars, Wine bars

Neighbourhood Wine

icon-location-pin Fitzroy North

Climb the stairs to the first-floor bar and restaurant to discover a clubby, handsome space of vintage bar stools, tapestry and brass. Take your time perusing a 20-page wine list, peppered with natural beauties, impressive imports and little-known locals. Minimal-intervention, biodynamic and organic wines form the backbone of this commendable selection.

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11
Food at Congress Restaurant
Restaurants

Congress

icon-location-pin Collingwood

You'd be forgiven for thinking Congress is a restaurant rather than a wine bar, considering their pigs head sandwich was one of the most sought-out snacks of 2018. But, they encourage carefree drinking through their wine list featuring large, classic producers of austere wines nestled amongst some trendy, local producers from the Adelaide Hills.

12
Pouring wine at Napier Quarter
Photograph: Graham Denholm
Bars, Restaurants

Napier Quarter

icon-location-pin Fitzroy

The cafe-to-wine-bar category has been growing strong over the last few years, but the one to beat everyone to the punch is Napier Quarter. Their any-time-of-day anchovy and egg toast bridges the gap between breakfast and light, drinking snack. Wines of the day are scrawled along the wall, and if you're after a particular something, just speak to any of the well-versed staff.

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13
Salmon dish at Little Andorra
Bars, Wine bars

Little Andorra

icon-location-pin Carlton North

It’s a brave thing to open a wine bar across the street from Neighbourhood Wine, and a couple of blocks from Gerald’s Bar. But Little Andorra in Carlton North has proven itself worthy, carving out its own identity and nailing the cosy neighbourhood style in an area heavy on options.

14
Pouring wine at Atlas Vinifera
Photograph: Graham Denholm
Restaurants, Bars

Atlas Vinifera

icon-location-pin Richmond

Care is the number one factor in this quaint little wine bar. Atlas Vinifera has invested money in its compelling and incredibly well-stocked shelves, it has invested time in staff training, and it has a highly functional space while remaining entirely independent. It operates as a retail store as well, so expect a lot of foot traffic, an inordinate amount of regulars and even more cheers.

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15
Food at The Alps
Photograph: Graham Denholm
Bars, Wine bars

The Alps

icon-location-pin Prahran

Mark Hopkinson and Lyndon Kubis have worked their magic on an old milk bar on Commercial Road, turning the skinny terrace into a sexy slip of a wine bar. Along the wall, some 400 wines, largely boutique Australians and interesting importsare available for you to drink in or take away.

16
Drink at Westwood
Photograph: Graham Denholm
Bars, Wine bars

Westwood

icon-location-pin West Melbourne

Westwood is no ordinary wine bar; they open for breakfast to serve you coffee and toasted sandwiches, lunchtime brings baguettes into the mix, and dinner comes from the inventive hands of Rhys Bennett (Dinner by Heston). There are usually around 10 wines by the glass, all hovering around or below $15 from small, local producers- oft-changing and ever-interesting.

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17
Milton_Wine_Store-crop-01.jpg
Bars, Wine bars

Milton Wine

icon-location-pin Malvern

A wine cellar in a terrace house sounds better suited to the leafy back streets of Fitzroy or East Brunswick, but Milton Wine is smack, bang in the middle of the high-priced burbs. The tram stops right out front, casually ushering you into a library of wines from Australia and Europe (with a bit of a skew towards Italy).

18
The interior of Underwood Wine Bar in Fitzroy North
Supplied
Bars, Wine bars

Underwood Wine Bar

icon-location-pin Fitzroy North

Local wines, cheese toasties and hyper-local beers are trademarks of this seductive, wine bar championing all-Australian wines in the inner north.

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19
Amarillo
Bars, Wine bars

Amarillo

icon-location-pin Fitzroy

This low-lit, Iberian-style wine bar keeps things deceptively simple and very comfortable, so it is easy to find yourself glued to a stool all night or talking to a regular who makes you feel like you've just walked into their lounge room. Drink from a wine list that reads like an 18 year-old’s gap year hit list with most of Central and Western Europe getting a look in, plus a whole lot of Victorian drops leading the local charge.

20
People sitting inside at Bellota Wine Bar
Photograph: Graham Denholm
Bars, Wine bars

Bellota Wine Bar

icon-location-pin South Melbourne

A little slice of the Left Bank in South Melbourne, Bellota will win you over with its intrepid wine list, charcuterie and cheese and sass-packed service.

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21
The interior of Toorak Cellars wine bar in Armadale
Supplied
Bars, Wine bars

Toorak Cellars

icon-location-pin Armadale

Educating the good people of Toorak on the wonders of natural and biodynamic wines, the folks at Toorak Cellars have enough tried-and-tested examples to keep everybody happy.    

22
Seddon Wine Store
Bars, Wine bars

Seddon Wine Store

icon-location-pin Seddon

One of the best bars in the west, Seddon Wine Store is part wine store, part neighbourhood bar. Choose a boutique label to enjoy in the store, or grab a bottle to go.

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23
joanies-baretto-001.jpg
Bars

Joanie’s Baretto

icon-location-pin Thornbury

At this intimate, cultured Thornbury bar, you can practise your Italian in the bathrooms, where language lessons are piped through the speakers. Drinks are sourced solely from the Boot, and snacks of fritto misto (golden-fried seafood) arrive quick-smart on the table.

24
People sitting inside at Gertrude Street Enoteca
Photograph: Graham Denholm
Bars, Wine bars

Gertrude Street Enoteca

icon-location-pin Fitzroy

One of Melbourne's original bottle shop/bars, this Mediterranean marvel boasts produce-driven dishes and an intrepid wine list.

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25
Food at Bar Nonno
Bars, Wine bars

Bar Nonno

icon-location-pin Northcote

At this charming Northcote local, there are biodynamic wines from Australia and Italy, plus thin-crust pizzas and a strong, traditional Italian focus.

26
Strangeloves Wine Bar
Bars, Tapas bars

Strangeloves Wine Bar

icon-location-pin Moonee Ponds

In the spiritual home of Dame Edna Everage, Strangeloves puts the power firmly in the hand of the punters, by asking the first four guests to choose two reds and two whites. The price of each bottle is then divided by four to decide that day's by the glass list.

More of Melbourne's best bars

Cocktails on bar at Fancy Free
Photograph: Graham Denholm
Bars, Cocktail bars

The 50 best bars in Melbourne right now

Melbourne's bar scene continues to be the envy of the nation, and our late-night credentials only get stronger with every new opening. Here is Melbourne viewed through the bottom of a glass: from its world-beating cocktail lounges to its down-and-divey saloons. 

More to explore

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