The Best Wine Bars in Melbourne

Courtesy Embla
Courtesy Embla
Photo of Monique La Terra
18 July 2017

What defines a great wine bar? Is it the notable vintage list, the evocative ambiance or the masterful menu of culinary delights? Culture Trip believes it’s a combination, and these five wine bars in Melbourne deliver on all fronts and have earned the respect of sommeliers.


Hailing from Town Mouse parentage, Embla hones in on the comforts of the familiar, combining a self-proclaimed “slightly weird” wine list with a straightforward menu. Located in Russell Street, Embla is shrouded in moody, rustic ambiance, accented by exposed brick and hardwood. Executive chef Dave Verheul has curated a wood-oven menu to that neatly accompanies Eric Narioo’s wine selection.

Embla 122 Russell St, Melbourne VIC Australia +61 3 9654 5923

Courtesy Kristoffer Paulsen/Embla

Kirk's Wine Bar

Bar, Wine Bar, Wine, Beer, Pub Grub, European, $$$
Map View
Green tiled walls and bentwood chairs give Kirk’s Wine Bar a charming sense of old-world European nostalgia. However, it’s the selection of local and European wines that have connoisseurs returning. There is both indoor and outdoor seating, as well as a hidden cellar at the bottom of a spiral staircase with enough room for twelve. Chef Ian Curley’s menu is also worthy of a mention with authentic European dishes on offer.


Bar, Restaurant, Australian, Pub Grub, $$$
Map View
Living up to its name, Smalls Bar is an intimate space with just 24 seats, which has been cleverly designed with a minimalist aesthetic and secret nooks and crannies. Established by Restaurant Revolution’s Jess Ho, Smalls Bar is the place to find boutique tipples to accompany chef Andy Hearnden’s ever-changing menu featuring a “pimp your dish” option, allowing you to add truffles to anything.

Punch Lane

Restaurant, Bar, Wine Bar, Australian, $$$
Map View

Since 1995, Punch Lane has been a post-theatre haunt. Sitting on the Paris end of Little Bourke Street, the inviting bar exudes old-world sophistication mirrored in the 200-strong wine list, encompassing a myriad of wine regions which are written across the blackboard clad walls. Punch Lane also features a seasonal menu by Giselle Saffigna.

City Wine Shop

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Wine Bar, Italian, Wine, Cocktails, $$$
Map View
Sitting in the shadow of Parliament House, City Wine Shop is part bottle-O, part elegant establishment minus the fuss. Unquestionably European, the variety of vino also includes local varieties which you can enjoy on-site or at home. The menu features continental breakfast staples, modest wine food and satisfying counter meals such as potato and sage gnocchi with roasted pumpkin and mushroom risotto.

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