5 of Melbourne's friendliest Neighbourhood Wine Bars
As many will know, I gave up the city life in Melbourne earlier this year in search of sun, sand and sea on the Gold Coast. The foodie scene on the Gold Coast has exploded and we are absolutely spoilt for choice. There is something I am missing out on though - a great neighbourhood wine bar.
On my recent trip back to Melbourne, I took on the challenge to visit four of Melbourne's friendliest neighbourhood wine bars in 4 days (I have added a favourite at the end that I didn't get to this time). Check out the list below for your next catch up with friends new and old.
Day one: The sisters' date at Spencer & Co Wine Bar Provedore, North Carlton
There's something about sitting out on a terrace at a European table that takes me back to my Europe travel days. Unlike the others on my list, this was my first ever visit to Spencer & Co Wine Bar Provedore and it delivered! We chose to have wine and cheese flights - who doesn't love wine and cheese for dinner?! We also got the Zucchini salad to accompany our dinner.
The generous 90mill wine tastings were perfectly paired with fine cheeses. I have a totally new respect for American wine and cheese. The service was outstanding with a very knowledgeable chap on hand to explain everything to us.
http://spencercowinebar.com.au/ 639 Rathdowne St, Carlton North VIC 3054
Day two: Friendly catch up at The City Wine Shop, CBD
If the city is your neighbourhood, then The City Wine Shop should be your local wine bar. I have a real soft spot for this wine bar; it has always been my go to in the city since moving to Melbourne in 2010. The City Wine Shop is perfect for sipping a glass of wine while people watching on the busy Spring Street strip.
The best thing is that it's the perfect central meeting place to catch up with a friend or two (or meet a new one via Let's Meet At) and pick a bottle off the shelf and sip the night away; they also do incredible food. My only rule with visiting a wine bar is that I can't drink my 'every-day' wines (Pinot Gris or Rieslings) and I have to try interesting varieties. The City Wine Shop always has a great by-the-glass menu so this is never a problem.
http://www.citywineshop.net.au/ 59 Spring St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Day Three: a quick friendly lunch at Ripponlea Food & Wine Bar, Ripponlea
One of our Meet The Locals dinning series locals, Ripponlea Food & Wine has just reopened after a renovation that oozes class and sophistication, without any pretentiousness - their new back bar is sexy AF (I don't usually use the term AF but that's how sexy it is!).
The food at Ripponlea is extraordinary and always a flavour sensation. I confess that I had just had a large brunch at White Mojo in the city so when I arrived for a coffee and my friend wanted lunch I couldn't resist eating something off the menu. With my sweet tooth in toe, I went straight for dessert and had Pina colada Eton mess, which as promised was light and packed full of flavour. I did also skip the wine part because we were in a bit of a hurry and I like to leisurely drink my wine.
http://www.ripponleafoodandwine.com.au/ 15 Glen Eira Rd, Ripponlea VIC 3185
Day 4: An impromptu girly catch up at Smithward, Collingwood
It's always a pleasure going to Smithward, it has that classic neighbourhood wine bar feel with a few stools lining the bar, intimate tables and a welcoming vibe.
They open at 3pm on the weekends, so it is the perfect place to pop in for a quick catch up and a few glasses of vino. The other thing I love doing at a wine bar is getting the staff to help me choose (and convenience me to drink Chardonnay). I love hearing the flavour profiles and how the wine is made/grown, it always helps me make up my mine... and know what to order for round two. The other thing I love about Smithward is that they only stock local Victorian wines so you really feel like you're supporting local!
www.smithward.com.au/ 48 Smith St, Collingwood VIC 3066
The one we didn't make it to: Underwood Wine Bar, North Fizroy
Unfortunately, it was a bit to early to go to Underwood when I had time on this visit.
What I love about Underwood is how cosy it is. You just want to sit there sipping a delicious red and let time pass. It's homely and an equally wonderful place to for a romantic date or a catch up with friends. Settle in, relax, grab a delicious toastie and let your worries disappear into your wine - they always have a wonderful and interesting selection of wines by the glass.
https://www.underwoodwinebar.com.au/ 181 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North VIC 3068
There you have it, everything I have missed about wine bars packed into four days. Grab a friend and head to one of these friendly wine bars. If there's a wine bar you love and want to share it with me, send me a message through the little message bubble on the right of your screen, I always love new recommendations.
About the author: Loretta McGill is the Founder and head foodie at Let's Meet At. Living in our foodie capital Melbourne for 7.5 years, Loretta's love of all things food and meeting new foodie friends led her to develop Let's Meet At, Australia's only foodie app that helps you find dining buddies and new friends.