Positioned at the top of Little Bourke Street, Punch Lane wine bar has been a Melbourne institution for more than 16 years, immersing patrons in its cosy European setting. The room is lavished with century-old jarrah and red leather chairs; it almost feels appropriate to light up a cigar and sip at brandy. The rear wall is graced with vintages of classic, old-world varietals from Italy and France as well as a strong Australian selection, showcasing the 200-strong wine list.

During the day, the restaurant sets the perfect scene for lunch meetings with the a-la-carte menu or a $39 express lunch offering two courses with a glass of wine and a coffee to finish. In the evening, the restaurant is in a great location for theatregoers to have a snack at the bar (open until 1.30am on Friday ad Saturday nights), while the cheese list boasts some French favourites to indulge with a glass of port later in the night. Matt Donnelly (The Commoner) is also on board as Punch Lane’s head chef.

Be it a leisurely meal or something short and sweet, this old-world city bistro is sure to impress.