Get us in your inbox

Search
A selection of wines on shelving
Photograph: Anna Kucera

The best bottle shops in Sydney

The best places to buy the good stuff and keep your liquor cupboards well-stocked

Advertising

When we talk about Sydney's best bottle shops, we don't mean massive liquor barns. Rather, these are the places you go when you're after something special or specific; the purveyors of booze where you'll find boutique spirits, hard-to-find vintages, natural wines or just some locally-brewed longies at a good price.

These are the places you should visit before a fancy homemade dinner, or when you want to send a little something special to someone you care about. Thankfully, these lot also offer delivery which, depending on if you're a 'glass-half-full' type or not, can be a great thing, especially under current circumstances.

That's drinks sorted. Now, what's for dinner? Here are Sydney's best take aways eats.

Sydney's best bottle shops

Built to Spill Wines is an online natural wine and interesting booze retailer, all wines picked with love and meant to be enjoyed with good music and good people. 

A relative newcomer on the online retail scene, you can rest assured this a no holds barred outlet where you'll find awesome drinks and a lot of fun content along the way.

CBD Cellars
  • Bars
  • Millers Point

Wines on this classy CBD bottle-o's website are arranged in categories from 'Under $15' to 'Iconic', which should give you a pretty good idea of the extensive range on offer. There's plenty of beer and spirits available, too, as well as elegant glassware, gourmet snacks and even jigsaw puzzles and scented candles. CBD Cellars even have an online shop, Kent Street Cellars where you can browse online. Get carried away, and don't worry about getting stung on shipping – there's free delivery on all orders of $150 or more.

Advertising
  • Shopping
  • Sydney

The Oak Barrel has been in business since 1956, and once you check out the ridiculous collection of gear it's easy to see why. Almost all of it is available over the web, and they offer same-day shipping to the Sydney metro area if you order before 10am, so stock up on your minimal-intervention wines, craft beers, sake and rare whisky, and have it ready to drink by the end of the work day.

  • Shopping
  • Bottle shops
  • Manly

Four Manly locals with a deep love of minimal intervention wine are bringing the natural wave north with the opening of Winona Wine. The united forces of arts writer Elli Walsh and muso Cam Walsh, with restaurateurs Luke Miller (Chica Bonita, Sunset Sabi) and Bo Hinzack (Roller’s Bakehouse, Showbox Coffee Brewers) have opened Manly’s only dedicated natural wine shop.

Tucked just a few blocks back from the Manly Beach front, Winona is a unique addition to this coastal neighbourhood in Northern Sydney. And it’s not just about the wine, either. Miller has noted that at times it has been difficult to find all the ingredients for a Negroni from some local bottle shops. That’s why they’re introducing products like a natural vermouths from Partida Creus MUZ and Lucy Margaux, plus Regal Rogue. There are also junmai sakes and organic beers (try a ‘spontaneous fermentation’ from Tasmania’s Two Metre Tall), along with a hefty selection of lesser known wines from producers like the Other Right and Le Cave des Nomades, made with zero or minimal chemicals like sulphide (the nasty stuff that brings the headaches). It's a welcome change of pace for an area that's been quick to jump on craft beer, but less so wines.

The Walshs are longtime natural wine fans, previously serving up a taste of the minimal intervention world with their natural wine showcase project ‘the Funky Bunch’. Since 2016, the couple have moonlighted as wine educators, holding tastings at places like Bo’s Showbox café, getting the good people of Sydney’s Northern Beaches excited about a new-to-them but actually very old style of winemaking. Now they’ve made the jump with their very own shop, a bare-cement, open plan little space with wall to wall steel shelves of natural wine from around the world and a centre table showcasing their favourites.

“There are small producers who are just working in their shed somewhere in Australia and making amazing wines that people just aren’t hearing about… These wines, it’s like a personality in a bottle,” says Elli Walsh, who has also come to know a lot of the personalities behind the bottles she’s now selling.

Since opening a couple of months ago, the quartet have enlightened many of the Beaches’ natural newbies, as well as those locals that have been waiting for their own slice of the organic wine pie to make its way over the bridge. They’re even introducing weekend tasting events with winemakers if you like to learn while you drink.

Advertising
  • Shopping
  • Annandale

Organic, biodynamic and preservative-free wines from home and abroad are only the beginning at this long-standing suburban favourite, which houses more than 3,500 different products, including some pretty hard-to-get-your-hands-on stuff. Veno, their online store, is where you'll find it all. Just try to hold back on the wicked stockpile of grower Champagne. 

Prince Wine Store
  • Shopping
  • Bottle shops
  • Zetland

This Zetland wine purveyor has a extensive selection (Aussie drops in particular), helpful staff, wine education classes, wine maker lunches and the occasional free tasting. Expand your vino-know-how, grab a well curated mixed dozen and head on in. 

Advertising
  • Shopping
  • Bottle shops
  • Bondi Beach

Up until recently you'd have to travel to the CBD or Surry Hills if you wanted to nab a bottle of natty wine, but now Native Drops has dropped into Bondi to offer up locally focused natural wines to the beachside suburb. The first thing that'll hit you before the excellent booze does is the beauty of the space – it's all polished concrete, neat suspended shelves and striking native floral arrangements. Then you'll be struck by how many different and awesome Aussie wines you can get. You won't find any international vinos – they focus solely on showcasing Australian wine makers – so have a chat to one of the friendly staff who will guide you through your options. Perhaps it’s a light Tommy Ruff Poolside syrah (who knew there'd be a shiraz suitable for drinking during the day, optimally by a body of water); or well priced, amber coloured fruity but fragrant Xabregas riesling. If you really want to get the low down on a specific winemaker, book into one of their mid-week tastings, where you'll get to meet the vintner, try their wine, eat lots of cheese and buy discounted bottles. You'll also find craft beers, ciders and ginger ales in the fridge alongside a small range of locally made chocolates, cheeses and other snacky treats. 

  • Shopping
  • Bottle shops
  • Newtown

Sydney's first bricks-and-mortar shop devoted exclusively to natural wine spruiks a scrupulously curated collection of unfined, unfiltered and low or no sulphur juice from all over the world, as well as Aussie craft beers, small-batch spirits, sake, liqueurs and digestifs. You can also score monthly subscriptions or leave the deicision-making to them and order a mystery half-dozen on the website. Order up – you'll save 10 per cent on six or more bottles, and orders over $150 get free shipping.

Advertising
The Drink Hive
  • Shopping
  • Bottle shops
  • Rosebery

You'll find a bottleshop attached to every other pub or supermarket in this city and they are fine for a grab-and-go. But when you want something special, and maybe even sustainable, the Drink Hive should be on the top of your list. It's the first bottle shop in Sydney to introduce refillable beer and wine stations. Booze industry pros Mal Higgs and Gregoire Bertaud works directly with local craft brewers and winemakers to offer up artisan wines that you can bring back to refill and you'll also find a range of hand-selected boutique brands on the shelves and in the fridges.

  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Waterloo

The George is the Waterloo HQ for DRNKS, one of the country's first online natural wine purveyors. Technically the site came before the shop, but the bottom line is there are more than 400 labels to choose from, orders for more than $99 get free shipping and you save 10 per cent if you order six bottles. So, start with a fun, fizzy pet-nat before working your way through some cloudy orange wines and finish on a couple of classy chilled reds.

Advertising
  • Shopping
  • Camperdown

With eight locations across the city, Camperdown Cellars is one of the most consistent and dependable booze emporiums in town. In-store, all the bases are covered in every category, staff are both knowledgeable and helpful, and everything's well organised and neatly displayed. The website is much the same, with clear imagery and detailed tasting notes. They’ll drop it off on-time, cold and free of charge if you spend more than $150.

  • Shopping
  • Paddington

One of Sydney's all-time great independent wine shops, Five Way Cellars is where you head when you're after something special and require the assistance of people who know their stuff. The shelves are stocked with quality goods from some of the world's most esteemed producers at every price point. Their website is very easy to navigate and offers incredibly extensive tasting notes, and you'll save 10 per cent if your order 12 bottles or more.

Recommended
    You may also like
      Advertising