The Best Wine Bars in Sydney

Updated 1 week ago

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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 favourites specialise in the minimal-intervention space, while others champion a particular growing region. There are also some killer food menus here that deserve to be explored, making these spots perfect for a date night or a special occasion dinner.

  • 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.

  • A Mediterranean grill and wine bar unlike anything we’ve seen in The Rocks before. Visit Swillhouse Group’s grand-statement venue for two-sip Martinis; dishes cooked over charcoal; and a massive mosaic from Italy.

  • 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.

  • You can walk up to Bar Elvina’s fun and fast sibling with sand still clinging to your ankles. We love this breezy wine bar for its king prawn buns, weekly specials and lunchtime sangas.

  • Find a dizzying list of natural wines and funky farmhouse ales at this cavernous bar and diner. Spon up the road is also worth your time if you’re chasing the same styles in a more intimate setting.

  • Fire-driven cooking is the specialty at this sultry backstreet bar. The menu is backed up by cocktails on tap, and around 300 natural wines to try.

  • Bar Copains is one of the best places in Sydney to drink wine at. At this romantic corner bar, two of the country’s best chefs are sharing "unicorns" from their own personal cellars, and elegant snacks to try them with.

  • The Abercrombie’s ground-floor wine bar is where you can shop fun wines or hole up for the evening. Take your vino home, or settle in at the communal table or upstairs in the cosy bar. Gildas, charcuterie from LP’s and locally made cheese are on the snacks menu.

  • This intimate wine bar nods to days gone by with an expansive list of drops, Basque-inspired pintxos, live pianists and a library stacked with antique books.

  • 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.

  • The Vermuteria team’s saloon is bringing “oyster culture” back to Kings Cross – with live mollusc shucking and a bumper selection of champagnes. Plus, Guinness on tap and smashed cheeseburgers for the win. See you at the horseshoe bar for a Martini, then a French 75.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

  • The cult bottle shop’s Paddo sibling is like a mirror image of the Newtown original – save for the sunny courtyard out back serving wines by the glass and fancy little snacks.

  • 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.

  • Hit this lovingly-converted corner store for classic cafe vibes during the day, and wine-bar bliss Wednesday to Saturday. If you’re grabbing takeaway, it’s served from Sydney’s most Instagrammable window.

  • Head to this Euro-inspired wine bar for French fare with a twist, and a wine list that balances natural drops and classic French ones.

  • 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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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • A handsome brasserie-style spin-off by the team from Arthur Restaurant. It’s primed for casual afterwork drinks and snacks with a sharing menu focused on zero-waste.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.