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
Bar, Restaurant, Australian, Pub Grub, $$$
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.
Smalls Bar 20 Yarra Pl, South Melbourne VIC Australia + 61 3 9686 2990
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.
Punch Lane 43 Little Bourke St, Melbourne VIC Australia +61 3 9639 4944
Courtesy of Punch Lane
City Wine Shop
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.
City Wine Shop 159 Spring St, Melbourne VIC Australia +61 9654 6657