The flowy linen smocks for sale at the shops of Armadale’s main drag want to seem casual, but there’s a self-consciousness to their boutique-ness. Not so at Auterra, where excellence is charmingly unassuming. Here, easy going neo soul plays and light streams in from the heritage shop windows over a beautiful but unfussy room in tones of white and deep red with accents of copper. It’s an inviting space, made more so by the warm greeting of the staff.
Melbourne’s love affair with the wine bar deserves to be immortalised on screen, in song or in a book of finely tuned haikus. As Australia’s early adopters of civilised drinking, we were sipping and swirling while other states languished at the mega-club stage of drinking evolution.
But we’ll keep the boasting to a minimum while revving our praise for Time Out’s best wine bar shortlist to a maximum. Celebrating some of the true legends of the industry as well as a smattering of pithy newcomers, it shows that the wine bar is a versatile beast indeed. Whether you’re after a glass of something red, white, orange or pink before heading on your way, or prefer to linger longer and add a meal to the equation, these 10 contenders have you covered.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to their wine collections. Big or small, natural or traditional, Victorian, Australian or international: all we ask is that it’s delicious, and that they make drinking wine fun. Because a wine bar is about more than dutifully ticking the booze and food boxes. As The Castle’s Denis Dennuto might have said, it’s the vibe.
Our recipe for the perfect wine bar adds a requirement for excellent music, a rocking fitout, non-sneery service that makes even novice wine drinkers feel welcome and the kind of lighting that makes everyone 110 per cent more attractive.
Hitting all these KPIs, we present to you a shortlist well worth popping a cork for, in the spirit of celebration.