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15° & CLEAR SKY ON MONDAY 26 AUGUST IN BRISBANE
By Laura Dawson
July 13, 2017
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The Best Wine Bars in Brisbane

The city's very best vino-pouring hangouts, havens and hideaways.
By Laura Dawson
July 13, 2017
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THE BEST WINE BARS IN BRISBANE

The city's very best vino-pouring hangouts, havens and hideaways.

Our love for wine in Brisbane is strong and enduring. You could even say we're a bit obsessed. And with grape-based tipples undergoing a bit of a revolution — shifting away from the world of wanky wine-speak, and moving into creating a more accessible wine experience for everyone — it's well-justified

While you can still find plenty of expense and intimidation in the wine world, you can also find helpful sommeliers and staff keen to impart their knowledge and love of vino, including at the places on this list. From reds to whites and everything in between, we bring to you Brisbane's finest wine bars. Some are old classics, others are fresh, but they all have stellar selections with stunning surrounds for drinking in.

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    The Gresham

    Anywhere with squishy Chesterfields to sink into and drink in gets a big tick. At The Gresham, home to the only heritage bar licence in Queensland, you’ll be able to soak up the rich history and architecture of this fine watering hole even as you soak up a drink or two.

    The focus here is on drinks in general, with an exemplary spirits and cocktails list, but their wine list is no slouch; French champagne sits cosily alongside Australian red and whites, and you’ll even be able to enjoy a Queensland Malbec if the fancy takes you. We would happily order a Ploughmans ($15) or a cheese board ($15) and while away many an evening at The Gresham.

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    La Lune Wine Co

    South Brisbane has a new wine bar, and we’re very happy to report that they use the Coravin wine system. It’s basically a very fancy way of preserving wine, while still allowing them to offer rare or aged tipples by the glass. If you’re a fan of your aged classics but either don’t want to or can’t afford to drink a whole bottle, you’re in luck.

    As for their vino list itself, the Fish Lane venue dances through international and Australian varietals with ease, offering something for all tastes in its extensive range of vintages. Special mention goes to anything from By Farr in Geelong, the Warramate Chardy, and anything from Curly Flat — a cracker of a wine, and they’ve even got half bottles if you’re there solo. Food-wise, La Lune’s dishes are all geared for the drinks — go with the charcuterie and choose cecina or jamon, and, from the cheeses, Le Dauphin and Brebirousse are stand outs. Otherwise, enjoy a raw nibble, with oysters, sardines and beets just a couple of options.

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    Bacchus

    When the wine list is almost as big as a novel, you can be pretty certain that you’ll be able to find something you like. Indeed, there’s nothing restrained about Bacchus, but hey, that’s why we love it. Everything from the food to the drinks to the décor is extensive and opulent. In short, it’s a great spot for a fancy drink with a friend or a special date.

    Head sommelier Andrew Giblin has curated a list of Italian, French, Greek, New Zealand, German, Austrian and Australian wines to enjoy. Take a dizzying ride through the varietals on offer and marvel at the amount of awards they’ve won for their list (it’s a fair few). Plus, if you’re feeling flush you can splash for a bottle of $590 Perrier-Jouet Rose — or, y’know, just keep it tame.

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    The Apo - CLOSED

    Stepping inside The Apo, you can’t help but notice their décor — think hushed modernity and a whole lotta warmth. And when you combine that with a restrained yet comprehensive wine list you’ve got the perfect spot for a good glass of vino. And a snack or two, of course

    Located inside a heritage-listed old apothecary store, The Apo overlooks Bakery Lane and Ann Street so you can soak up the street vibes while enjoying a sophisticated drinkie or several. They do wines by the glass, half bottle or full bottle, so you can tailor the ‘prescription’ to your whim. Choose from South Australian Sauv Blanc, Pinot from Burgundy or an Italian Prosecco, among others. Plus, and if you line up some black mussels ($24), baked buffalo ricotta ($14) and lamb tartare ($18), you’ll be well on your way to a very pleasant visit indeed.

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    This tri-level wine bar and restaurant opposite the Cathedral of St Stephen is a treat indeed. Stepping off the street and into the main entry, you’ll enjoy original timber flooring, arches and bar — a glorious meld of old and new, and the perfect spot for a long lunch.

    Malt’s wine list is thorough, and they offer a good selection by the glass with a couple of exciting Aussie options available. Be sure to ask at the bar for their larger list, which makes for excellent reading, even if it’ll extend your choosing time. If you feel like making an evening of it, slip up to the attic for dinner in an exposed brick and timber setting. It’s the perfect spot for a relaxed supper, and if you feel like going all out, they have a degustation on offer with six courses and matched wines ($125).

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    Coppa Spuntino

    Tucked off Creek Street, just around the corner from Red Hook, lurks Coppa Spuntino. This Italian watering hole was dubbed the best Aussie Wine Bar in 2015, and pulls no punches when it comes to their food and drinks. Their discreet location and muted ambience make this the perfect spot for a tête-à-tête or an after-work bev with friends, and they also host regular wine and food dinners, tastings and events should you feel like settling in for the long haul.

    With bio-dynamic, organic and sustainable wine options available, you can taste and sample your way through Italian reds and whites, with a strong focus on varietals from Sicily, Tuscany and Sardinia. Hungry? Oh you’ll be happy with the fare here. Sample three salumi for $35 (the nduja, a spicy, spreadable sausage, is divine) or go the ever-classic cheese route with five options including taleggio, pecorino romano and gorgonzola. As for mains, tuck into sandcrab and prawn linguini ($29) or a duck pappardelle ($27). Be sure to pop this one on your date night list.

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    1889 Enoteca

    This Brisbane old dame has been around for many years, doing quiet, sophisticated and exceptionally good Italian fare. With plenty of outside dining for the warmer months and lots of cosy indoor spots for those chilly winter nights, Enoteca should definitely be on your rotation. The fact that it features a restaurant, a wine bar, a basement cellar for private dining (it’s a must do if you have a big group) and a small wine store is also a drawcard, obviously.

    Naturally, their vino selection is an absolute cracker, boasting a strong focus on wines that are made naturally or bio-dynamically. Owner and wine list curator Dan Clark takes a lot of pride in his task, and his picks are (of course) the perfect complement to their stunning food. Enjoy wines by the glass or the bottle — there’s an array of excellent options for both, and each segment of the wine list has a brief introduction to the region. Oh, and if you book a 6pm table from Tuesday to Friday, you get a complimentary bottle of Bibi Graetz red or white wine with the purchase of a main meal. Bonus.

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    Claret House

    With a name like Claret House, you’d expect that this bar does a pretty special number on the wine front, and you’d be right. Housed in Teneriffe’s Woolstore building, the interior is all warmth and wood, with stools aplenty for pulling up a seat and working your way through their formidable vino selection. Thanks to its outdoor tables, you can also venture outside and have a social, swill-filled evening.

    Drinks-wise, bubbles fans will find more than a few sparkling and champagnes on the list, including with a couple of exceptional vintage options (1990 Veuve and 2004 Dom make an appearance, each just shy of the $400 mark). Unsurprisingly, however, Claret House really shines when it comes to their whites and reds, with a great selection of Aussie drops taking centre stage, and French, Italian and Spanish varietals all jostling for attention as well. When it comes to eating, it’s all sharing, with Japanese scallops ($18) and buttered corn arancini ($15) just a couple of the small-plate options among many. Larger serves are also there for the taking, with brisket at 250 or 500 grams ($28/$35) and lamb rump with choc-mint sauce ($23) certain to tempt tastebuds.

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    If you’re heading on down to the people-watching mecca that is James Street, what better way to look out on the hoi polloi than with a staggeringly great glass of the good stuff in your hand? Cru Bar + Cellar is well known for its exceptional selection of Champagne and sparkling wine — and with an extensive wine list spanning plenty of regions and varietals, you can spend as much time and money as you would like here, likely loving every moment.

    A key part of the enjoyment of wine is the food, of course, and Cru does not disappoint. You can snack on olives ($10.50) or nibble on cured salmon ($24.50), which pairs spectacularly with champagne. And if you’d rather munch on a restrained but delightful array of cheeses, including Italian cows’ and ewes’ milk brie, Australian Gippsland blue and Italian pecorino, you can do that too. A spectacular way to spend your Sunday (or any day).

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