The Best Wine Bars in Sydney

Updated 2 days ago


Sydney’s wine bars are a diverse bunch. Ever since 10 William Street set the pace more than a decade ago, the scene has followed suit with some of the most ambitious cellars you’ll find anywhere in the country. Some of these places specialise in the lo-fi space, while others champion a particular growing region. There are also some killer food menus here that deserve to be explored (Poly, hello), making these places perfect for a date night or special occasion dinner.

  • Mat Lindsay and his team changed the dining game with Ester, one of the city’s most acclaimed restaurants. And while they insist Poly is a wine bar first and foremost, you’d hardly know it given how good the food is. One thing’s for sure: Poly is less formal, looser and complements Ester perfectly.

  • A bar and bottle shop styled after the enotecas of Italy. And a colourful upstairs restaurant with pasta and panache. Paski is a three-part stunner by wine importers Giorgio de Maria and Mattia Dicati, and chef Enrico Tomelleri.

  • Set over two storeys in an iconic Paddington terrace, Sydney’s most experimental wine bar has Italian swagger in spades. Come for pastas that are anything but traditional, and a pretzel with whipped bottarga that’s so spectacular it’s never left the menu. The wine list changes so frequently, you could visit three times in a week and never get bored.

  • An intimate vibe and a superlative wine list make this spot a date-night home run. The 300-strong wine list keeps in touch with current trends, but also pays plenty of respect to the old world. We love sitting out in the laneway opposite the bar – it’s a real vibe on a warm Sydney evening.

  • Bar Copains is the result of a decades-long friendship between top Sydney chefs Morgan McGlone and Nathan Sasi. Here, they’re sharing a deeply personal and vast wine collection, and a harmonious menu of elegant snacks to explore it with.

  • The team behind Alberto’s Lounge brings a wine bar and restaurant to the Rocks of a calibre the area hasn’t seen before. Hit this audacious, multi-level venue for a Mediterranean-inspired menu, a cracking wine list, massive mosaics shipped from Italy and views of the Harbour Bridge and MCA.

  • The sister venue to Lennox Hastie’s Firedoor is a celebration of the vibrant pintxos bars of northern Spain. The menu offers Australian ingredients with Basque-inspired touches, a taste of Spain via imported jamon iberico, and a drinks list that’ll change the way you feel about sherry.

  • Inside the Norfolk Hotel’s former sports bar is a vibrant wine nook inspired by the Barcelona suburb it’s named after. Expect a range of vermouths, plus mussels and chips, crackers topped with Cantabrian anchovies, and skewers cooked over a flat grill. From the team behind Love, Tilly Devine.

  • A sexy wine bar and restaurant from the team behind Nomad. Enter via the back lane, take a seat on a caramel leather banquette, and order some of the best gamay Beaujolais has to offer, with lobster thermidor on baked tomato-saffron rice to match.

  • The CBD has some of the best cocktail bars in the world, but there’s a surprising lack of venues with a focus on vino. Since moving from its original Potts Point location, Monopole, with its clever mix of snacking and thoughtful drinks list, has changed that.

  • Like its sister venue Love, Tilly Devine, this date-night destination is wholeheartedly about good grapes. The 400-strong wine list may cause a lengthy pause in conversation, if only for the fact that it’s educational and easy to follow. Though wine is the focus here, the food is entirely appropriate for the moody setting, with a snacky menu that changes according to the seasons.

  • This tiny addendum to Porteño next door packs a huge punch in the wine department. And if they run out of space for you at the long communal table, there are a couple of extra seats in the cool room and a blanket to keep you snug.

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  • This relaxed, taverna-style wine bar is by two hospitality veterans behind some of the country's most revered venues. Their shared love of the sea is reflected in the seafood-heavy menu and breezy atmosphere.

  • Housed behind one of Enmore Road’s most iconic facades, the Porteno Group’s beautiful tapas and wine bar draws inspiration from all over Europe, most notably Spain. Take a seat in the stunning mid-century space for house-cured snacks, charcoal-grilled meat and seafood, and plenty of Sangria.

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  • The cult bottle shop’s eastern outpost is a near mirror image of the Newtown original – save for the sunny courtyard out back serving wines by the glass and terrines by ex-Old Fitz chef, Nicholas Hill.

  • Just about everything on the wine list at this eclectic inner west bar is chosen for its drinkability, as well how natural the production methods are behind it. A few reds, a few whites and a few nonconformist colours are featured on a chalkboard by-the-glass menu. And if there’s anything you really like, it might be in stock at the bottle shop next door.

  • A theme of fermentation guides this cavernous King Street bar. Find a dizzying list of funky farmhouse ales, ciders and natural wines, plus a Euro-inspired all-day menu by a formidable kitchen team.

  • Split across two levels, this classic seaside wine bar and kitchen feels like a little slice of the Mediterranean. There are around 400 bottles to choose from, with more than 50 varietals in the mix.

  • At the site of the legendary Cafe Hernandez, this Spanish bar honours the former tenant with big barrels of house blended vermouth, banging cocktails and tapas including tinned seafood and a famous four-cheese toastie.

  • De Vine is an old-school, European-influenced wine bar that’s been quietly doing its thing long before the CBD became a small bar mecca. It’s stood the test of time because – good Italian food and moody ambiance aside – De Vine knows its product. The extensive by-the-bottle list is big on European winemakers, but you’ll also find aged drops from cult Australian producers, too.

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  • Playful takes on British cuisine are the specialty at this sultry backstreet bar. Think Scotch eggs with curry mayo, madras Wagyu pie with pappadums, and sticky toffee pudding with rum-roasted pineapple. There are also cocktails on tap and around 300 natural wines to try.

  • While it’s hard to look past the deli’s famous canned cocktails, its heavily-curated selection of European wines should be explored with gusto. Plus, the incredible selection of imported cheese, charcuterie and tinned seafood is the ultimate pairing. It’s the suburb’s favourite date spot for good reason.

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  • More than 350 hand-picked drops make up the tome of a wine list at this sophisticated bar and eatery. It also does cocktails – very good ones. But in our opinion, going to a place like this and not having wine is like ordering a salad at a steakhouse. On the topic of food, settle in for wine-friendly dishes with a European bent.

  • In a quiet corner of the CBD, this wine-slinging institution has a list of more than 200 bottles – the vast majority of them sourced from small, family-run vineyards. Can't settle on one? There are around 100 pours available by the glass. Plus, a European-influenced menu and an unpretentious vibe.

  • Potts Point just scored Caravin, a Parisian restaurant and wine bar from the team behind Surry Hills favourite, Bar Suze. The menu is all about French fare with a twist, and the wine list balances natural drops and classic French varietals.

  • A leather-bound menu at this moody spot offers 150 bottles that mostly celebrate classic Australian varietals, styles and regions. Flick to the back to find the impressive “museum” list, featuring a selection of Penfolds Grange from the ’70s and ’80s.

  • The Dolphin is a bit of a choose-your-own-adventure experience. It successfully blurs the lines between a neighbourhood pub and an Italian restaurant, while spruiking a wine list that wouldn’t look out of place at any of the bars on this list. Throw in an al fresco drinking area on the footpath, and you’ve some tough choices ahead.

  • Bart Jr is the kind of wine bar every neighbourhood should have. In that respect, Redfern locals are a lucky bunch. This compact all-rounder is completely unpretentious, with a welcoming vibe and a natural-leaning wine list to match. There’s nothing overly fancy here – just really good drinks, European-influenced food and warm service.

  • Sommelier Amelia Birch’s spot on Enmore Road offers rotating wine flights, with bottles you can taste before taking home. Snacks include black-truffle-and-squid-ink salami, and a caviar-topped egg dip made from a secret family recipe.