Here's a list of Sydney venues for lazy afternoons and late nights, when all you want to do is graze on a luxurious cheeseboard and put a solid dent in a bottle of wine while you catch up on the last few years, days or minutes of someone's life and debate the age old question: cheddar, Brie or blue?
Prefer the great outdoors? These are the 20 best picnic spots in Sydney.
Need some cheese for home? Check out Sydney's best delis.
Rather skip the mark-up? Do it at the best BYO restaurants in Sydney.
The best places for wine and cheese in Sydney
At Newtown's Continental, a downstairs deli opens at 11am and becomes a casual bar/restaurant as the later hours creep in, while upstairs there's a bistro for those fancier nights out. But downstairs is where we like to hang and make the most of the collection of wines and French, Italian, Spanish and Aussie cheeses that they serve with housemade jelly. They bake ridiculously good, chewy, crusty bread here, too. Order it.
There's usually around two dozen cheeses on the go in the 1.8m fromage fridge at this Oxford Street mainstay. And if that's not music to your ears, then the fact that it's open seven days a week till 3am most definitely should be. Keep things classic with a gooey Brillat-Savarin and a big-ticket bottle of buttery white Burgundy, or go for something a bit different like a piece of sharp toma quattro latte cheese (made with four different types of milk, including donkey's!) and a glass or three of hazy orange wine.
Whether you're breaking the ice on a first date or celebrating a fortieth anniversary, this Potts Point wine bar and restaurant is one of the city's best places to splurge on vino. There's a bottle on Nick Hildebrandt's riveting list for every occasion, be it a benchmark Bordeaux or some cultish obscurity from a relatively unknown region. The range of handpicked cheeses is tightly edited, and what it lacks in quantity (there are seven or eight), it more than makes up for in quality.
It’s the cheeses that are responsible for the queues of turophiles pressing their noses against the glass here. It’s $23 for two, $31 for three or $38 for four cheeses, and you get to choose each and every one. No one is going to sneak a chunk of Manchego onto your plate unless you want it. Each board comes with bread and crackers, a small puck of quince paste, muscatels and a fig-and-walnut rolada, but that's all just window dressing for the main event.
The natural wine game is strong at this larder-like Leichhardt small bar that specialises in charcuterie, tinned seafood and a whole heck of a lot of cheese – more than two dozen to be exact. Go rogue with the likes of Occelli's Al Malto d'Orzo e Whiskey, a funky sheep's milk cheese coated in malted barley and whiskey; pair it with a skin-contact wine from Georgia and you, dear friend, are in for a wild ride.
This chic little wine and cocktail bar flies the flag for all things French in the centre of the CBD. They're all about the theatre here: each and every wine is poured from magnum, and the elaborate cheese display looks like an epic still-life painting. You won't be able to resist the smell of the truffled Brie, so definitely order some. And for those who want to live extra large, grab a 1.5L bottle of Champagne and some aged Comté to go with it.
When it opened in 1999, the GPO Cheese and Wine Room was the largest cheese room in the Southern Hemisphere. There's an overwhelming selection of hard ones, soft ones, semi-softs, blue veins, washed rinds and everything in between – not to mention mac and cheese, fondue burger boards and specially designed cheese and wine flights to add to the analysis paralysis. The wine list doesn't make decisions any easier: the cellar's home to more than 250 bottles.
This CBD wine bar has been doing its thing for over a decade, and it's cultivated a loyal following in the process for a killer 250-plus label wine list focused on smaller producers, chock full of eyebrow-raising rarities. The team here know it all back to front, so ask for their recommendations – they'll know exactly what goes best with a pungent Stilton or a stinky Taleggio.
Wine bars don't get much more laid back than Where's Nick, where the lo-fi vibe sets the stage for a super chilled-out session. Most of the minimal intervention wines scrawled across the giant chalkboard will pique your curiosity, so chat to the crew and have them talk you through a few. Then, have a seat on one of the sunken Chesterfield lounges and have at some aged Dutch Gouda or a semi-hard Swiss raw cow's milk cheese.
Heading down the winding staircase and into the world that is Hubert – flickering candles, live jazz, soft carpeting, that epic collection of vintage prints – is half the fun. The other half is flicking through the giant wine list, picking something spesh and whiling away the hours with a few mates and a few cheeses to keep you company.
Hole up in this tiny Paddington wine bar for an evening of all the crazy, raw, wild and feral wines you can handle. To temper this fermented frenzy, there's always a trio of magnificent cheeses available. Sometimes it's bitey pecorino, sometimes it's Aussie classics like Holy Goat or Pyengana cloth-bound cheddar, but you can always bet on goodness.
Let's face it, almost everyone who squeezes into this rollicking little Darlo darling is here for a cacio e pepe – the signature pasta dish that's tossed at the table in a hefty, hollowed wheel of pecorino. If you're more of a straight shooter, you can order straight-up cheese: nutty Parmigiano-Reggiano, soft buffalo mozzarella, wood-smoked scamorza and a handful of others. They're all served with a choice of two seasonal sides and some bread, so you really get your money's worth. The approachable list of wines is pretty wallet-friendly, too.
Need more than cheese for dinner?
Unless you have the metabolism of a nine-year-old and the finances of a Kardashian, you never stand a chance against Sydney's ferocious dining machine. The openings just don't stop – and ain't nobody got time to keep on top of what's what. Except us, of course. Behold: our definitive eat-and-destroy list.