The round-up: savour the finest drops at the best wine bars in Brisbane
Brisbane is fast becoming an oenophile’s paradise, with a strong wine-bar scene growing year on year. If you’re searching for natural and biodynamic newcomers, tried and true old-world wines, or are simply looking to expand your rolodex of juice for your home cellar, then look no further than the following list of Brisbane’s best wine bars.
Mr Chester Wine Bar, Fortitude Valley: Kicking off our list is one of Brisbane’s first (and best) New World-centric wine bars. The team at Mr Chester Wine Bar prefers to champion smaller boutique producers, digging deep into the story behind each glass and understanding the terroir of its origin. The wine list is curated by an in-house sommelier, taking in everything including Tasmanian sparklings, whites from Adelaide Hills and juicy reds from Swan Valley.
La Lune Wine Co, South Brisbane: Hospitality figure Paul McGivern is a die-hard wine lover, and his passion shines bright at his Fish Lane cave à vin La Lune Wine Co. The wine list is seriously lengthy, and includes incredible drops from Australia and further abroad. Old-world wines from Bourgogne in France and Tuscany in Italy share rack space with obscure reds from Greece, premier champagne from Champagne and cutting-edge Australian up-and-comers.
Alba Bar and Deli, Brisbane City: While you can certainly get much more than just wine at this Burnett Lane hideaway, you’d be foolish to not cast a glance at the range available at this new-school wine-diner. This Basque-inspired hotspot is perfect for cocadillos and conservas, paired with a delightful sherry, glass of pet nat, disco grenache or dry sparkling txakoli.
Snack Man, Fortitude Valley: If you’re craving intricate and delectable Chinese morsels and top-shelf European wines, Snack Man is the bar of your dreams. This chic space specialises in bottles you can’t find anywhere else, importing never-before-seen drops from natural and emerging winemakers and regions across the globe. The ever-changing selection features around 200 bottles to choose from, while a list of wine-wall highlights is perfect for wine novices keen to sample some recommended options.
The Old Seven, Camp Hill: Boasting an intimate atmosphere, passionate staff and a killer list of libations, Camp Hill’s wine maison The Old Seven is a worthy entrant on this list. The 100-strong wine assortment features varietals from Australia, France, Italy and Spain, with 22 wines available by the glass alongside a small cocktail list and menu of epicurean delights.
Cru Bar + Cellar, Fortitude Valley: Wine lists don’t get more extensive that the dossier handed to diners at Cru Bar + Cellar. Wine buffs will get a kick out of flipping madly through pages of pages of wines, but even novices can find some plonk that’ll suit palate and price point. Cru Bar has a Coravin system that allows staff to access wines with the use of a specialised needle – penetrating the cork without the wine ever coming into contact with oxygen. Found a drop you want to add to your home collection? Cru Bar’s on-site bottle shop has a mammoth range to choose from.
Maeve Wine, South Brisbane: Located a stone’s throw from South Bank’s cultural precinct, Maeve Wine is the perfect location to enjoy a glass or two before a show or exhibition launch. The selection here leans towards smaller producers and less conventional, minimal-intervention drops. Wines are available by the glass or bottle and those looking for a more serious sip can look to the Coravin and reserve list to find some incredibly rare bottles, predominantly from Burgundy and Bordeaux, but with a splattering of old Australian and Italian producers, too.
Carl’s, Teneriffe: This hole-in-the-wall wine bar comes from the crew behind Gerler Wines and The Valley’s City Winery. With space for 25 guests, this cosy offshoot stocks a selection of Gerler’s handmade wines (made from micro-winery sourced grapes) and other wines inspired by the season, curated by sommelier Mark Whitaker.
Baedeker, Fortitude Valley: Those that prefer old-world decor should make tracks for brick-and-leather heavy wine bar Baedeker. The wine list here is chock-full of glug-able wines from around the world – we’re talking drops from the Barossa Valley, Queensland’s Granite Belt, the Adelaide Hills, Margaret River, Martinborough in New Zealand, Mendoza in Argentina, Piemonte in Italy and Duoro in Spain.
Proud Henry Wine Bar and Ginoteca, Fortitude Valley: Fans of gin already count Proud Henry amongst their most-beloved haunts, but the crew behind this bar has two loves – the other being wine, of course. The shelves at Proud Henry hold a huge range of natural, organic and bio-dynamic small-batch wines from across Australia. The bar’s merchant licence allows guests to taste wine from any one of a number of wineries as part of the Urban Cellar Door experience, and you can purchase a bottle to take home or enjoy at one of The Valley’s BYO-friendly restaurants.
Clapham Juntion Wine Bar Provisions, Banyo: Brisbane’s north is home to a charming wine bar and charcuterie joint that looks to expand the tastes and experiences of locals. Clapham Junction stocks a mixture of boutique drops that will be slightly unfamiliar to some, yet enticing all the same. Sample aglianicos, tempranillos, barolos and vermentinos while snacking on lavish charcuterie and cheese boards.
Silver Fox Wine Bar, Brisbane City: Escape the hustle and bustle of The City and seek out paradise in a glass at Silver Fox Wine Bar. This low-key oasis has a wine list flush with local, interstate and international wines selected by a resident sommelier, with a Coravin wine-preservation system that pours wine at its oxygen-free best.
Local Larder & Wine Bar, Ashgrove: While we’re pretty sure Ashgrove locals would prefer the existence of Local Larder & Wine Bar to remain secret, a wine list this good can’t stay secret for long. The wine menu here, which has been awarded Three Glasses at the Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards 2019 (that’s really good), boasts a selection of more than 230 bottles ranging from rich and textural white varietals to adventurous natural reds. Local Larder & Wine Bar also hosts a regular wine club, which offers blind tasting and wine-and-cheese matching masterclasses for serious vino lovers to brush up on their knowledge.
Le Bon Bar, Woolloongabba: A long-time go-to for lovers of French cuisine, C’est Bon underwent some changes in 2019, adding a new cellar and dining terrace, while renaming its bar to Le Bon Bar. Oenophiles can now enjoy an updated wine list, curated by Master of Wine Peter Scudamore-Smith. The list encompasses France’s phenomenal wine regions (Bordeaux, Loire Valley, Alsace, Burgundy and Rhone) as well as drops from Queensland vintner Barambah Wines. A full page is dedicated to wines by the glass, magnums by the glass and bigger bottles, champagne and sparkling, French regional reds, whites, and dessert wines, respectively.
Grape Therapy, Brisbane City: With a name like Grape Therapy, you can hazard a guess as to what’s on offer. If you assumed lots of good wine, you are correct! The wine list here is chock-full of hard-to-find vintages and small-batch boutique wonders, with drops sourced from some of the world’s best growing regions. The wine list scored Two Glasses at the Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards 2019 – a testament to the quality of the selection.
Brisbane’s best wine lists: While the above locales are great spots for a casual sip, there’s a lot of great wine to be found at Brisbane’s top restaurants, many of which boast phenomenal wine lists of their own. If you want a comprehensive wine-and-dine experience, check out OTTO Ristorante, 1889 Enoteca, Blackbird Bar & Grill, ARC Dining, e’cco Bistro, Greenglass, Bacchus, sAme sAme, Corella, Mosconi, La Cache à Vín, La Lupa, and Happy Boy.
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