Anyone who says that home is the best place to unwind after a long day hasn’t been to a good enough wine bar.
In Sydney, the streets are pretty packed with sweet bodegas to stop by for a glass before inevitably staying for a bottle. Whether you’re pining for a pinot or in need of a natty, Sydney’s best wine bars have got you covered. From Surry Hills to Double Bay, to Coogee Beach, and back again, here are the best spots to enjoy a sip or two (or three).
These are 14 of Sydney's best wine bars right now.
Paski Vineria Popolare
From one of Sydney's most innovative voices in wine Giorgio De Maria, Paski Vineria Popolare is a two-storey restaurant, wine bar, and bottleshop. De Maria dreamt up the concept in partnership with Mattia Dicati (Vino Mito Wine Imports) and chef Enrico Tomelleri (Ragazzi, Alberto’s Lounge, 10 William Street). At the bar, about 400 bottles imported by De Maria and Dicati are displayed on shelves designed by Sydney-based artist Dion Horstmans. Pick a bottle and sip it at the bar for a small corkage fee with a little charcuterie or cheese, or grab one to go.
Upstairs, you'll find a pint-sized restaurant—Paski Sopra or Paski "above"—where Tomelleri will be weaving a little a la carte magic in the form of handmade pasta and Mediterranean seafood. As well as the selection of vino downstairs, you'll also find rare and special wines. On Wednesday nights, Paski Sopra upstairs will be dedicated to wine tastings.
Fresh from the dream team behind Dear Sainte Éloise, Ragazzi and Fabbrica, La Salut is a Catalan-inspired wine bar housed within the recently revived Norfolk Hotel (now called Norfolk House). Like all of the Love Tilly venues (most of which feature on this list—see below), you'll be in for a knock-out wine list, though this time the Barcelona-themed venue will be throwing the spotlight on often underappreciated next-gen Spanish drops.
For food, expect snacks like mussels, hot sauce, and chips (an homage to a vermouth bar in Barcelona called Morro Fi); various jamon, manchego, and anchovies, and fried quail with morcilla spice.
Headed up by Rockpool Dining Group’s former head sommelier, Raphael Mulligan, alongside Belgium-born owner Philippe Gilbert, Vini Divini is the European summer you’ve been missing, one wine glass at a time. The bar is inspired by the inimitable essence of la dolce vita and “bringing people together to laugh, enjoy wine, break bread, and share stories and ideas,” explains Gilbert.
To create his geographically diverse wine list, Mulligan has collaborated with small, independent winemakers and distributors to pen something that’s pretty unique for Sydney. With a broad by-the-glass selection, Vini Divini is a spot to sip your way around a few different countries—travelling from well-known regions of France, Italy, and Spain, and then over to Greece, Armenia, Georgia, and Turkey too.
De Vine Food & Wine
If you like your wine bars cosy and brimming with charm, De Vine Food & Wine on the corner of Clarence and Market streets in the CBD hits all the right notes. De Vine has held the corner spot since way back in 2003, but these days it's run by restauranteur brothers Anthony and Julian Izzillo who have built up a very impressive collection of 400+ wines and, as a bit of a passion project, the largest collection of Amaro in the Southern Hemisphere. 90% of the wine list is natural, organic, and biodynamic with a strong focus on European varietals. Here, you're in for a full food menu too—think scallops topped with guanciale, heaped antipasti boards, fresh pasta (we recommend the wagyu ragu), and Tiramisu for dessert. This one's a real gem.
You'll find Sella Vinoteca at Randwick’s humming Newmarket dining precinct. It feels a bit like a suburban secret, stacked with around 350 bottles of hard-to-find Italian, local, and international wines—and an eclectic, but total standout menu to match. Sella Vinoteca is inspired by the dine-in cellar doors and “old family vineyards” of Europe, says owner Fabio Dore. “I wanted to re-create that special experience of being invited into a home and experiencing a tasting with the owner. You taste and learn so much about the land, the family, and the passion that went into producing that glass of wine."
While Sella Vinoteca's cellar leans into a lot of Italian varietals, you'll also find Aussie natural and organic wines, and off-the-beaten-path French and Spanish drops. Best part? Attached to the wine bar is a bottle shop, where you can pick up select bottles from the wine list to take home.
Coogee Wine Room
Up until now, Coogee’s never had its own wine bar. Sounds crazy, but it’s true. Opening mid-2019, Coogee Wine Room has seized the opportunity to become the seaside suburb’s first designated vino venue. Founded by locals Tom Hardwick and Michelle Morales, the new spot is just a block from the beach, mixing Euro-chic with salty suburbia. Over a 30-page menu, you’ll find 400 wines including 28 by the glass. Paired with a Mediterranean-style menu, this new edition is the perfect place to post up after a day at the beach.
Perched at the front of the stunningly designed Paramount House Hotel you’ll find Poly, a walk-in wine bar owned by the crew behind Chippo’s Ester. No matter what night of the week, Poly is always pumping, and for good reason. As General Manager Adam Hall explains, “A one-hundred-and-something strong list of natural wines from the best producers in Australia and around the world. A constantly rotating selection of almost 20 wines by the glass. Bar snacks by Mat Lindsay. And the best bit? Over half the seats saved for walk-ins every night!”
10 William St
This much-loved Sydney wine bar might seem quaint on the outside, but don’t let the façade fool you. The second you step foot inside this spot off Oxford Street in Paddington, prepare for a sensory overload as if you've been transported direct to a local favourite in a European city. What’s that loud, vivacious roar? That’s the sound of an entire bar enjoying themselves in unison. Always bustling, never vibe-less, 10 William St has become a classic for wine buffs and foodies alike. With an ever-evolving wine list, many bottles come and go—but one thing stays with you forever, and that’s their famous pretzel with whipped Bottarga. Honestly, no words adequately describe its beauty.
Love, Tilly Devine
What Love, Tilly Devine might lack in space, it sure as hell makes up for in wine selection. This back-alley treasure in Darlinghurst is a natural vino vulture’s dream bar. “The wine served at Tilly is minimal intervention wine, or what people call ‘natural wine’”, explains Love, Tilly Devine's Samuel Woods. “For us, this is just wine that is free of chemicals and preservatives and wine that is fermented without the addition of yeasts. This results in wine whose flavour is more unique to the region since the yeast for the fermentation is found naturally occurring on the skin of the grape and results in a wine which is better for you.” Wait, wine that’s good for you? Sold!
Dear Sainte Eloise
Matt Swieboda and Nathanial Hatwell must be doing something right because this is their second bar that’s made this list. As with their other successful venture—see above for Darlinghurst’s Love, Tilly Devine—Dear Sainte Eloise devotes much of its focus on minimal intervention wines. But what else makes it so special?
“The list at Dear Sainte Éloise celebrates some of the great winemakers who have defined what wine can and should be”, says Swieboda. “It’s also a list that gives a voice to the young and experimental winemakers of the present who will help define wine’s future. We believe that wine is an interconnected community full of sharing and learning, creating and drinking. The beautiful thing about drinking the wines of the world is that you become a part of that community simply by lifting a glass”, he says. And we say, cheers to that.
Illuminated by the glow of a thousand (totally random guess for poetic license) fairy lights, The Winery is the perfect place to share a bottle with friends in a whimsical garden atmosphere. The wine list is meticulously curated, offering over 30 varieties by the glass, and the accompanying food menu offers everything from delectable charcuterie boards to good old-fashioned hamburgers. This is a quintessential Crown St experience.
Ever taken a sip from a glass of wine and thought: This would taste better if it was poured from a Magnum? If you just answered yes to that question, congratulations on all of your successes. Jokes aside, Merivale’s recent-ish to the Ivy precinct, Little Felix, turns the midweek wine or date night drink up a notch or three with its magnum-only pour policy. If you’re looking to sip on some fine wine to the soundtrack of smooth jazz in a bar of emerald and gold—pull up a stool at Little Felix.
Bibo Wine Bar
Though the leafy suburb of Double Bay isn’t exactly synonymous with the vibrant streets of Portugal, Bibo Wine Bar presents a pretty convincing argument. Dimly lit with dark wood interiors and European-style bistro chairs, Bibo “is a great opportunity for diners looking for refined food in an elegant and casual atmosphere at the same time”, says manager Jonathan Mallet. “You can share a full tasting menu with matching wine with your loved one for hours, or simply enjoy a glass of wine and Portuguese-style snacks with a group of friends”, he says.
The Wine Library
Since opening its doors and beginning its pours in 2010, The Wine Library has become somewhat of an institution for the wine buffs of Woollahra. Despite its lofty Eastern Suburbs location, it’s a super unassuming wine bar with surprisingly decent prices. Inside, wine glass silhouettes line the walls, and the clientele is a mix of friendly locals and serious wine connoisseurs. If you consider yourself among the latter, order a "blind pour" at the bar and put your tastebuds to the test. If you can name the type of grape and its origin, the glass is on the bartender. If you get it wrong, you enjoy a delicious new wine for $14. There are no losers here.
For more bar-hopping inspo, check out Sydney's best cocktail bars.
Image credit: Nikki To, Paski Vineria Popolare, Niki To, Vini Divini, Leigh Griffiths, Jude Cohen, Coogee Wine Room, 10 William St, Love Tilly Devine, Dear Sainte Eloise, Little Felix