Chilly mornings, dark evenings and rifling through your closet looking for your sweater collection. Yep, that's what we've got to look forward to in the coming months. But just because summer's slipping away, that's no reason to hole up and give in. You just need to trade summery drinks outdoors for wine inside. Here are six fabulous wine bars to cosy up in this autumn.
Love, Tilly Devine, Darlinghurst
Sommelier Matt Swieboda's back alley room is simply a collection of tables, a bar and a kitchen. Throw in some exposed brick walls, some hanging ferns and a few knick-knacks and you've got a super setting for a tipple. The wine list is a 300-variety affair and it's chock full of Australian chardonnay, riesling and pinot noir, as well as some interesting bottles from Austria, Germany and France. Bar snacks are pretty tasty too; try the duck liver pate or just nibble your way through one of the excellent cheese boards. [fold]
Wine Library, Woollahra
Squeeze into this tiny Oxford Street bar and spend your night working through the lengthy but approachable 15-page wine list. The bar runs the length of the room and is backed by an impressive floor-to-ceiling wine bottle display. A couple more tables and stools rub up against the wall, but arrive early, as this place gets real busy, real quick. For eats, try a black truffle and stracchino quesadilla, kingfish ceviche or a hearty shepherd's pie.
121BC, Surry Hills
Sommelier Giorgio De Maria presides over the fun at 121BC. And what fun it is. This cosy enoteca serves an impressive selection of vino from Italy that you won't find elsewhere. The focus of the room is the great big communal table. Lucky really, because there isn't much room for anything else. The all-Italian wine list is divided into regions and changes regularly. It sounds fancy, but you can still have fun without breaking the bank. The food menu is simple and features sharing plates that change with the seasons. Duck into the attached bottle shop to grab a bottle to take home on the way out.
This city wine bar and adjoining restaurant attracts the suits (it would be hard not to when you're located right in the middle of the CBD), but don't be put off, because DeVine offers a swish experience. Alongside domestic drops, there's a great Italian selection courtesy of owner Andreas Puhar, who moonlights as an importer of fine wines. Cheese, nuts and olive plates make for good accompanying grazing, while heartier bar menu options include grilled prawns with herbs and tomato pesto, or a pickled artichoke salad with braised red peppers and pecorino.
Manly Wine, Manly
Sister venue to Gazebo and The Winery, Manly Wine is perfectly positioned across from the beach. And much the same as its sister venues, it's awfully pretty inside. There are lots of hanging plants, white-tiled walls, crazy seats and the odd flamingo. The wine list is simple to understand – select from ‘Slurpable Reds’, ‘Unpronounceable Whites’ or ‘Big and Bold Reds’. Despite its name, this one's not just for the grape lovers – there's also a solid beer, cider and cocktail offering.
Shop and Wine Bar, Bondi
Around the corner from the raucous Beach Road Hotel, you'll find the more intimate digs of Shop and Wine Bar. A cafe by day, corks are popped and wine glasses filled come knock-off time. The red velvet wallpaper warms up the room, so settle in at one of the old wooden tables and dive headlong into the wine list. It's mostly about Australian and New Zealand plonk and there's usually about 15 going by the glass. Eats include simple but tasty cheese and charcuterie plates.