The Oak Barrel
In operation since 1956, the Oak Barrel is one of the city’s oldest bottle shops. Owned by wine enthusiast Paul Downie, its selling points are threefold: an impressive craft beer selection, a huge range of hard-to-find wines and a vast array of rare whiskies.
Beer lovers will head straight for the Oak Barrel’s beer cave. Arranged by country of origin, the range has grown to about 800 beers. Local Sydney breweries are well represented, as are Australian breweries in general. Internationally, there’s a particular focus on Belgian beers (including a wide range of Trappist beers), as well a great selection of beers from small breweries in the US and New Zealand.
The wine selection is equally hefty. The Oak Barrel champions small vineyards and focuses on natural and organic wines. It often holds wines unavailable elsewhere in Sydney. Rare and expensive numbers are housed in the store’s climate-controlled vault. The shop also hosts tastings, masterclasses, wine fairs and wine-appreciation nights.
Act three: one of the best spirit collections in the city. From rare single-malt Scotches through to the increasingly popular Japanese whiskies, the Oak Barrel has dram lovers covered.