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The Best Wine Bars in Melbourne

A guide for any wine lover, whether you want strictly organic, biodynamic and local drops or you don't really care — as long as they taste good and don't cost a fortune.
By Concrete Playground and Andrew Zuccala
August 03, 2023
By Concrete Playground and Andrew Zuccala
August 03, 2023


A guide for any wine lover, whether you want strictly organic, biodynamic and local drops or you don't really care — as long as they taste good and don't cost a fortune.

Want to hit up all the best wine bars in Melbourne? Prepare to take your sweet time. Our wine-loving city is packed with fab spots to down a cheeky bottle of vino. A select few celebrate nothing but local tipples. Others focus on particular regions of Europe. And some have encyclopaedic volumes of wine that require a sommelier to decipher.

Food is also big at these Melbourne wine bars. Cheese and charcuterie boards abound, and a select few have kitchens that give the city's top restaurants a run for their money. So, whether you're after a cheeky pét-nat served with stuffed zucchini flowers or prefer tempranillo and tostadas, Melbourne's best wine bars have you covered.


Recommended reads:
The Best Bars in Melbourne
The Best Pubs in Melbourne
The Best Boutique Bottle Shops in Melbourne
The Best Restaurants in Melbourne

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    the main bar and dining room at hampton wine co - one of the best wine bars in melbourne

    Head to the south side of town to Hampton Wine Co. for dinner in both solid and liquid form — here, the wines are just as important as what you’ll be eating. The menu is made up of sharing plates with an emphasis on meat and seafood, but there are enough veggie options to satisfy any surprise dietary requirements — pizzas are also a big win at this Melbourne wine bar.

    Drink-wise, the list includes a healthy range by the glass, focusing on Aussie and Italian varieties, while the walls are full of bottles that the staff is happy to help you sift through. Really love a particular drop? Here, you can purchase a bottle to take home as well — just knock $15 off the marked price.

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    Lygon Street doesn’t have any shortage of Italian wine bars, but Agostino is certainly notable — if not due to its food and wine offering, then because of its history. Making its home in the strip’s King and Godfree building, Agostino was named as a nod to one of the area’s original Italian food pioneers. It’s a homage to Vincenza-born Carlo Valmorbida, the man who originally opened grocery store Frank Agostino’s and whose family has owned (and continues to run) the building since 1955.

    From the kitchen, comes a food offering that’s concise, yet punchy — and ever-changing. But it’s the wine program that takes centre stage, heroing a diverse spread of drops from across Australia and the homeland, including a rotation of tap wine. A solid retail selection offers bottles to enjoy in-house or at home, while the temperature-controlled cellar plays host to a covetable reserve list, filled with rare labels that have been housed here for years.

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  • 12
    baby snakes bar full of people drinking lit with red lights - one of the best wine bars in Melbourne

    Just off Footscray’s Nicholson Street and down a street art-filled laneway, a small doorway leads you up a set of colourful stairs and into a bright, airy bar. Welcome to Baby Snakes, a European-style wine bar brought to you by Mark Nilson, formerly of Collingwood’s The Moon.

    While there are some left-field offerings on the wine list, the team here aims to demystify and strip away the pretentiousness of old-world wine culture, instead celebrating interesting flavours that are approachable, sessionable and fun. The food is similarly unpretentious, featuring crafty baguettes and sandwiches, and uncomplicated plates of charcuterie and pickles to help soak up the booze. This hidden gem is easily one of the best wine bars in Melbourne.

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  • 11
    an empty dining room and bar at Hope St Radio - one of the best wine bars in melbourne

    Internet radio station Hope St Radio found a new permanent home in 2021, opening the doors to a wine bar and kitchen within the revamped Collingwood Yards. Also dubbed Hope St Radio, the venue boasts an expansive space beside the precinct’s central courtyard — its bright, roomy interiors decked out with timber booths and fun mural art by Peter Cole and Alice McIntosh.

    Food-wise, it’s all about the after-work snacks and dinner options; best enjoyed alongside some local beers, sustainably produced wines, or serves of Fernet and coke. Unsurprisingly, music is a big part of the bar’s DNA, with a custom sound set-up courtesy of Hot Wax Sound Systems featuring tunes from Hope St Radio’s expert curation of musicians and artists.

    Image: Tom Blachford.

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  • 10
    a busy bar full of people drinking - milton wine shop - one of the best wine bars in Melbourne

    If you’re looking for some hard-to-find wines, Malvern’s Milton Wine Shop is a clear go-to in Melbourne’s southeast. The cosy bottle shop isn’t just for takeaway, either — the venue doubles as a wine bar that slings rare drops by the glass. The venue is split across three spaces, including the bottle-o, a living room with fireplace, and a sun-filled courtyard. The latter is a rare outdoor gem that can also be used in cooler months, as it’s heated and enclosed.

    Expect both old- and new-world wines on offer at Milton Wine Shop, with a focus on quality winemaking. By the glass, there are orange and chilled reds alongside the usual red, white and rosé — with ‘interesting and rare’ drops from France, Italy and Austria. The expertly curated wine list by the glass helps make this one of the best wine bars in Melbourne.

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  • 9
    people sitting at the bar of Old Palm Liquor - one of the best wine bars in Melbourne
    As the minds behind much-loved Fitzroy North haunt Neighbourhood Wine, Simon Denman and Almay Jordaan have some pretty good experience for opening a sequel venue. With their original venue so well-loved, it’s no surprise to see that the winning formula works so well in Brunswick East’s Old Palm Liquor as well. Once again, the duo’s created a comfortable, laidback destination that’s on the right side of comfortable and classy, but not stuffy.
    True to form, wine is a huge part of the offering, as is an emphasis on good value, top-quality, largely minimal intervention drops from a range of boutique winemakers scattered across the globe. As for the food, it’s a generous menu of top-notch produce cooked over hot coals on the woodfired grill, alongside a slew of snackier dishes that feature a bit of Jordaan’s South African heritage.
    Image: Julia Sansone.
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  • 8
    Best bars melbourne - libean empty bar with wine bottles lined above - bar liberty - one of the best wine bars in melbourne

    This standout Melbourne wine bar is a destination for flavour lovers who aren’t afraid to try a few new things. Sure, you could stick with your favourite rosé and a spread of charcuterie and leave (very) happy, but creativity reigns supreme on both the menu and drinks list, so it’s well worth digging a little deeper.

    The sommelier will wheel around an old-school globe bar trolley to tempt you with the evening’s pouring wines — that change on the daily. The food is a must here, too. Order some of the inventive sharing plates, that include the likes of grilled lamb tongue skewers drenched in a sweet and sour apple and garum glaze, and the cured venison with beets and bone marrow. Expect the wonderfully unexpected at Bar Liberty.

    Image: Brook James

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  • 7
    dining room full of people at Etta - one of the best wine bars in Melbourne

    Opening in 2017, Brunswick East’s Etta was in instant hit amongst both local food and wine lovers. Hannah Green (Rosetta) runs the show, and is supported by Rosheen Kaul in the kitchen and Ashley Boburka in the wine cellar. The trio champions all things local, fresh and seasonal (with a strong focus on small producers), meaning change is a big part of everything here.

    Kaul’s Kashmiri, Peranakan, Chinese and Filipino heritage inspires the food menu, while wine is a mostly Australian affair. Boburka has curated a lengthy list of Victorian and Australian winemakers alongside plenty of European drops — focussing on producers that approach intervention with light hands. These are the kinds of vinos the best wine bars in Melbourne are showcasing these days, and Etta is right up there with them.

    Image: Annika Kafcaloudis.

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  • 6
    two bartenders working at the bar with a big shelf full of records — Waxflower — one of the best wine bars in Melbourne

    Swing by Waxflower, a Brunswick neighbourhood wine bar, for minimal intervention wines, local craft beer on tap and great coffee — stick around all night for the banging soundtrack. This Weston Street spot’s music edit is as considered as its food and wine offer, thanks to two custom-built, wall-mounted speakers, designed by Hobart designers Pitt & Giblin, that feed music generously into the space — which itself features walls that have been specifically designed for better acoustic treatment.

    The music is curated by a revolving lineup of local and (when possible) international DJs, and is not defined or limited by genre, but instead aims to champion rarity, diversity and inclusivity through tracks that might not necessarily find their way into the clubs. The wine list is another star of the show, heroing minimal intervention and natural winemakers who use only Indigenous yeasts to create totally unique drops.

    Image: Julia Sansone.

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  • 5
    a waiter rushing through the dining room at Neighbourhood Wines - one of the best wine bars in melbourne

    This beloved Fitzroy wine bar sits within a legendary Aussie crime boss’ old underground casino. Alphonse Gangitano left this spot back in the 90s, and it was left untouched for about 20 years, until the current team took over and made it into a true drinking and dining destination in Melbourne — keeping most of the building’s charm and original features intact.

    Nowadays, you’ll find southern Italian eats on the seasonally changing menu, alongside a 300-strong wine list. But don’t fear if you’re no professional sommelier — the slick, approachable staff are more than happy to talk you through the options and suggest an ideal match. For those going by the glass, there are six whites and six reds on offer, as well as a small selection of sparkling, rosé, sherry and fortified.

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    A busy bar full of people at Embla - one of the best wine bars in Melbourne - CBD

    Brought to you by those clever folks behind the Town Mouse (that sadly closed back in 2018), the Russell Street wine bar is instantly inviting, with a chic, yet warm, European charm. The cosy confines mark it as perfect date night material, while stools lining the bar and open kitchen lend themselves perfectly to some sophisticated solo dining.

    A considered pouring list plays to both the curious and the more conservative. Here, you’ll feel just as comfortable sipping a chardonnay from Mornington as you will avoiding a hangover with a low-intervention number, like the 2011 Pheasant’s Tears Rkatsiteli from Georgia. Technique-driven, but not pretentiously so, the food at Embla is as great as you’d expect from the Town Mouse team; the menu proves a winning blend of comforting flavours and chef flair. All of this combines to make one of the very best wine bars in Melbourne.

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  • 3
    a few tables of people drinking at marion on gertrude street - one of the best bars in Melbourne.

    When someone like Andrew McConnell opens a wine bar in Melbourne, the expectations are high. When that bar sits beside the guy’s iconic, two-hat Fitzroy restaurant Cutler & Co., forming some kind of wining and dining super-spot, you can bet they’re even higher. But you can rest assured that Marion lives up to all that hype.

    First off, the drinks list is a stunner — an exhaustive compilation with something for every palate and budget. You can drop by for an aperitif, unwind over a couple of glasses of local wine, or really settle in and share your way through a bottle of something foreign. And to round it all off, the small rotating food menu is comprised of innovative dishes ranging from elegant snacks to more generous belly-fillers.

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  • 2
    A view of the bar at gerald's bar north carlton - the best bar in melbourne.

    Gerald’s Bar is more than just an idiosyncratic local for Carlton North residents. It’s the definition of what us grown ups want in a small bar: a relaxed atmosphere, golden service, and a compact but considered menu. Owner, Gerald Diffey, makes strange sense out of Nan’s lace curtains, kitsch sporting paraphernalia, a stupendously broad wine list, vintage vinyl, and a food menu that changes daily. And this is exactly why we love him.

    Every nook and cranny of this place oozes cosy, out-of-the way small Melbourne wine bar. Gerald’s may very well have put an end to the bar-hopping tendencies of industry folk with its atmospheric booze-den perfection. A package of charming decor, affable staff, and enviable food and beverage excellence, Gerald’s is North Carlton’s unchallenged gem.

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  • 1
    a long wooden bar full of people drinking wine - lilac wine - one of the best wine bars in melbourne

    He’s the person responsible for the original iterations of Three Bags Full, Top Paddock, and Higher Ground, as well as well-loved wine-focused bars and eateries like Hazel and Dessous. Now, Nathan Toleman and his Mulberry Group team have spread their wings to Cremorne, taking over a converted warehouse for their wine bar Lilac — a sure-fire smash hit for sips, snacks and lazy feasts alike.

    Lilac’s oft-changing food offering doesn’t focus too heavily on any one genre, instead pulling together a melange of Aussie nostalgia, Euro sensibilities and French bistro flair. The matching wine list proves just as eclectic, focussing on organic and biodynamic varieties. Trend-bucking small-scale producers get plenty of airtime at one of the best wine bars in Melbourne as well, though quality reigns supreme throughout.

    Image: Kayla May Photography.

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Top images: Lilac Wine by John Benedict Ryan.

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