This is an old-school Italian-influenced wine bar, one of the best in Sydney’s CBD. It was around long before the licensing laws changed and small bars began springing up everywhere, so it’s got a bit of cred in that respect. And de Vine knows its product, so if it’s wine you want, it’s a good thing.
It operates as both a bar and a restaurant. The bar, with its bench tables and high stools, leads on from the entrance, while the dining area occupies the far end of the space. It’s a cheerful spot when it’s buzzing, which is more often than not.
There’s a great selection of wines by the glass – a dozen or more of either red or white – a few European beers on tap, a choice of various negronis and house cocktails, and a tidy bar menu if you feel like grazing. And you should. Wine is all about food.
Tucked round the corner behind the bar is the restaurant proper. It’s a nice cosy room. Bench seats run down either wall to the windows, tables and chairs against them, with a few more clustered together in the middle of the room. It has a cool dark look in the day, a warm soft look at night. The food is good, often very good – continental style rather than strictly Italian, which obviously suits carnivores best.
The wine is where the real decisions need to be made. Aside from the by-the-glass selection, the bottle list has plenty to offer, particularly if you feel like an Austrian Riesling. Better still, you can buy most of them to take-away if they’re not too busy.