Even though the city is littered with Euro-centric wine bars, there's still plenty of room for more.
Andrew Zuccala
Published on April 30, 2024


A lot of Melbourne's new bars and restaurant makeovers are leaning into Euro-centric flavours, designs and vibes. It's somewhat of a safe bet in Melbourne — a city with deep European roots and a great love for ItalianFrench and Greek food.

But despite the crowded market, Melburnians are regularly filling up each of these new spots. We're into it. Because, after all, who doesn't love easy-drinking European wines paired with pasta, steak and charcuterie boards? It's an easy win.

Wally's wine bar in Albert Park.

And Wally's in Albert Park is yet another to latch onto the trend, opened in 2024. Owner Baxter Pickard (surprisingly, not named Wally) brings his long history of drinking and selling wine to the site, curating an impressive list of European vinos.

He's made sure to cover a lot of price points at Wally's, ranging from affordable bottles starting at $50 to vintage and hard-to-find drops that'll cost you around $200 a pop. Those who opt for the more spenny varieties will be getting wines that Pickard and his team have won at auction. These will change depending on what's available at the time, so be sure to ask the crew to talk you through these extra-special options.

Wally's wine bar in Albert Park.

But few wine bars in Melbourne can get by with only having great drinks on offer. We are sip-and-snack people now, needing fabulous bites to accompany our drinking sessions. That's why Pickard has brought on Damon McIver (ex-Waxflower and Vex Dining) to run the kitchen pass.

He's dreamt up an oft-changing menu of European-inspired dishes that are made to be paired with the evolving wine menu. A few small plates will make an appearance — think cured bonito, barbecued leeks, fresh oysters with house-made hot sauce and skewers — as well as larger plates that'll include pasta and steaks. It's all quite classic and simple food, made to complement rather than outshine the wine.

Wally's wine bar in Albert Park.

The Melbourne-based studio a.mi has also kept things fairly traditional, using plenty of natural finishes and mirrored ceilings to create a French-leaning bistro vibe. Punters can either sit within the light-filled wine bar or perch out on the street — where pets are more than welcome to join.

It seems like a welcome addition to Albert Park — great for local wine lovers who want to have a casual drink with mates or go all out and explore some really special vinos.

Wally's wine bar in Albert Park.

Images: Pete Dillon


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