Step into Melbourne’s pulsating wine bar scene, where the perfect blend of good wine, elevated bites and cosy ambience awaits down basement cellars and street-level nooks. This city is a playground for wine enthusiasts, offering a mix of local and international vintages. From robust reds to crisp whites, the wine lists are a journey in themselves.
But it’s not just about the wine at Melbourne’s wine bars. They take food seriously. Imagine pairing your favourite vintage with innovative small plates and artisanal charcuterie that take the tasting experience to new heights. The ambience completes the trifecta, with chic interiors and intimate lighting setting the stage for a leisurely evening.
Whether you’re rendezvousing with friends or on a first date, these wine bars in Melbourne are guaranteed a good time — even if the date isn’t.
Wine can be a pretentious scene, but at Embla, food and wine take a more casual approach. The rustic decor feels like an extension of your own lounge room but with exceptional food and booze. The wood oven crafts dishes like lamb neck with romesco sauce, while the curated wine list is a collaboration with French natural wine expert Eric Narioo and Aussie winemaker Patrick Sullivan. Expect local and international gems, including rarities handpicked by McCabe himself.
For serious grape drinkers, Marion’s status as the best-stocked wine bar in the neighbourhood should be all the convincing you need. The purpose-built, shorter wine list is a treasure trove of vinous excitement available by the glass, eliminating the need to look elsewhere for a diverse and satisfying wine experience. As for the food, it’s just as good, with a daily changing menu filled with local produce, like oysters and charcuterie from owner, Andrew McConnell’s butcher, Meatsmith.
Cafe by day, European wine bar by night, with a Tokyo-style listening bar into the late evening, Waxflower is the holy trinity. The sleek Modbar espresso machine shares space with wine bottles lining high ledges. A wall adorned with 3500 records sets the stage for nightly performances by local DJs, including Miss Goldie and Wax’o Paradiso, spinning everything from jazz to house. Chef Damon McIvor’s Mediterranean-inspired menu, featuring O’Connor beef skewers and octopus with tomatillos, complements the diverse drink selection. What more could you want?
Etta is equal parts wine bar and restaurant. There’s a 250-bottle list pulling everything from textural drops from Austria to local Victorian tipples, emphasising small-batch production. The food menu channels contemporary Chinese, with other Asian influences and local ingredients. Think tuna crudo, tempura enoki, grilled half chicken with crispy garlic, and wood-fired lamb rib drowned in black vinegar.
Climb to the top of Spring Street and settle into City Wine Shop, a quintessential Italian wine bar, also housing a retail bottle shop. The idea is to pick up something on the way up (with a small corkage fee) or something on the way home. Operated by the team behind The European and Melbourne Supper Club, you can expect the food to be top-notch. Pich a few shareable plates, and some cheese, and you’re in for a treat.
From sunlit afternoons with passing prams to evenings imbued with dream-pop melodies, this timber-clad wine bar is cherished by the local community. The menu stars a mix of inventive and classics like patatas bravas croquettes and roasted cauliflower. They pair perfectly with the natural and skin-contact wines on the single-page wine list. Yes, one page. Proof a wine bar doesn’t need an encyclopaedic-sized list to be good.