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We’re here to help people discover the joy of wine. Just as we lead people to exciting and quality wines through the winemaker awards in Young Gun of Wine, we want to lead people to places where they can have a fun wine experience — because products and places are equally loveable.

Enter Wineslinger…

In 2018 we launched Wineslinger to lead people to places around Australia where they can enjoy a glass of wine, whilst at the same time encouraging the creativity and excellence in this environment.

We’re presenting an annual Top 50 venues list as determined by a cross section of Australia’s leading wine and hospitality tastemakers – 100 winemakers, sommeliers and journalists – who vote on their favourite wine haunts.

It is then up to the public to decide which of the Top 50 venues wins the ‘People’s Choice’. The other trophies include top spot ‘Wineslinger’, ‘Best New Haunt’, and the ‘Maverick’ which recognises a venue pushing the boundaries of possibility. All trophy winners will be announced on November 9.

In the inaugural year, City Wine Shop took the overall title as voted on the panel of 100+ industry leaders, and Harvest Newrybar was the most popular venue as voted by the public, taking out the People’s Choice award.

Last year, Sydney’s 10 William Street took out the overall prize, while Margaret River’s Settlers Tavern won the People’s Choice award. There were two new awards added in 2019, with Perth’s Wines of While winning the Best New Haunt, as best venue under two years old, while Byron Bay’s Supernatural Cellars was our first Maverick recipient, as the most adventurous venue, pushing boundaries to breaking point.

See news of the 2020 Top 50 here, and news of the 2020 trophy winners here.

Criteria

We want to lead people to venues where they can have a great wine experience.

The objective of this award is to showcase and celebrate the venues around Australia where our type of wine folk like to enjoy a glass of wine, or two, or more… Places with approachability, energy and adventure.

This award is not about one component such as food and wine matching, or the wine list, or the service… it is about the whole experience. What draws us all to those places where we like to enjoy wine is really the sum of the parts.

It’s often that undefinable thing a place has that makes it special. It is up to panellists to each establish their own lens of what venue has the best experience for wine drinkers.

This award is also an opportunity to recognise the originality, commitment, and quality of a venue’s offering.

There are blurred lines between wine bars, restaurants and pubs. Food and wine go hand in hand, so it’s hard to think of an on-premise venue where food doesn’t play a very good supporting role in the experience.

Boundaries of scope for this award include:

  • Degustation-only venues are out of scope. Whilst they might present a fantastic wine experience; we’re looking for places that are a more accessible treat to one’s self than a dining event.
  • The test of an applicable restaurant would be whether you could feasibly pop in for just a glass of wine.
  • Winery cellar door venues out of consideration of these awards.
Calendar
  • Top 50 venues announced August 17, 2020
  • People’s Choice voting runs August 17 – November 9, 2020
  • Trophy winners announced November 9, 2020
2020 Panellists

Aaron Carr (Yarri)
Adam Sanderson (10 Minutes by Tractor)
AJ Hoadley (La Violetta)
Alex Byrne (Noisy Ritual)
Alex Head (Head Wines)
Amy Hamilton (Liberte)
Andrew Jamieson (AJWM)
Andrew Scott (La Petit Mort)
Andy Ainsworth (10 William St)
Angus Vinden (Vinden Estate)
Anna Webster (Freelance)
Ben Moechter (Sommelier)
Besha Rodell (The New York Times)
Callan Boys (Fairfax)
Cam O’Keefe (Centra)
Cameron McKenzie (Four Pillars)
Campbell Burton (Campbell Burton Wines)
Charlie Simpson (Virtuous Vine)
Christian McCabe (Embla)
Colin McBryde (Adelina)
Con-Greg Grigoriou (Delinquente)
Dani Valent (Dani Valent)
Daniel Payne (Dirt Candy)
Daniela Frangos (Broadsheet)
Dash Rumble (Pilot)
David Le Mire (Shaw + Smith)
David Matthews (Gourmet Traveller)
David Moyle (Chef)
Dylan Arvidson (LS Merchants)
Eleanor Cappa (Maeve Wine Bar)
Emma Farrelly (Petition et al)
Erin Larkin (Freelance)
Evan Milne (Stock on Hand)
Fiona Donnelly (Australian Gourmet Traveller)
Foni Pollitt (Mayfair Lane)
Gabrielle Webster (Icebergs)

Gilles Lapalus (Maidenii)
Greta Wohlstadt (Mitolo Wines)
Harriet Davidson (Freelance)
James Erskine (Jauma)
James Thomas (Heroes)
Jane Thomson (Fabulous Ladies)
Jayden Ong (Jayden Ong / McConnell Group)
Jeremy Shiell (Winespeake)
Jess Ho (Time Out)
Jessica Martin (A.R.C Wines, et al)
Jill Dupleix (Delicious)
Jo Barrett (Oakridge)
Jonathan Hughes (Mewstone)
Jono Koerner (Koerner)
Jordan Kretchmer (Time Out)
Josephine Perry (Dormilona)
Justine Henschke (Henschke Wines)
Karena Armstrong (Salopian Inn)
Katie Spain (The Advertiser)
Kayleen Reynolds (City Wine Shop)
Kim Chalmers (Chalmers Wine)
Larissa Wolf-Tasker (Lake House)
Liz Carey (Wine and Food Solutions)
Louella Matthews (Bibo)
Louis Schofield (Hellbound)
Mac Forbes (Mac Forbes)
Maggie Scardifield (Freelance)
Marcus Ellis (Hardie Grant)
Matthew Hirsch (Freelance)
Max Allen (Financial Review)
Max Veenhuyzen (Broadsheet)
Michela Lubbers (Merivale)
Millie Gosney (Adley Clark Fine Wine)
Moira Waterfall (Harvest)
Natasha Johns (Primavera Selections)
Ned Goodwin MW (Freelance)

Nick Ryan (The Australian)
Nick Stewart (Ester)
Olivia Evans (Fleet)
Pablo Theodoros (Various)
Pat Nourse (Melbourne Food & Wine)
Penny Grant (Shaw + Smith)
Pete Dredge (Dr Edge)
Peter Marchant (Freelance)
Peter Windrim (Krinklewood)
Pip Anderson (MONA)
Randall Pollard (Heart & Soil)
Roberta Muir (Freelance)
Rocco Esposito (Project Forty Nine)
Russ Berry (Consultant)
Ryan Larkin (Larkin Imports)
Sam Connew (Stargazer)
Sam Leyshon (Mallaluka)
Sam McCue (Gourmet Traveller)
Samantha Teague (Concrete Playground)
Sarah Andrew (WSET)
Sarah Norris (Broadsheet)
Shanteh Wong (Quay)
Sharon Romeo (Fino)
Shun Eto (Vino Ed)
Simone Madden-Grey (Happy Wine Woman)
Sophie Otton (Le Pan)
Sue Dyson (Freelance/Living Wines)
Tony Harper (Craft Wine Store)
Tony Richardson (Blackhearts)
Travis Howe (Carlton Wine Room)
Trevor Perkins (Hogget Kitchen)
Vanya Cullen (Cullen)
Will Gilbert (Gilbert Family Wine)
Yoko Luscher-Mostert (Brave New Wine)

Past results
  • Venue
  • Region
  • Year
    • 10 William St
    • New South Wales, Paddington

    • 2018, 2019, 2020

    2020 Top 50
    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    An offshoot of Potts Point’s much-loved Fratelli Paradiso, 10 William St shed the skin of modern Australian–Italian dining, with a push away from fried calamari with rocket et al, and delving into a new form of Italian experimentation. Respectful and subtle experimentation, that is. And while Fratelli Paradiso has long stuck to a wine list…

    • 1889 Enoteca
    • Queensland, Woolloongabba

    • 2019

    2019 Top 50

    1889 Enoteca owes half its name to the heritage-listed Moreton Rubber building’s history, but the other half, and the source of its inspiration, is to be found in the great wine bars of the Eternal City. Owner Dan Clark has been travelling to Italy for near on 20 years: “The great enoteche of Roma are…

    • Africola
    • South Australia, Adelaide CBD

    • 2019

    2019 Top 50

    Before Duncan Welgemoed opened Africola on Adelaide’s East Terrace in 2014, he had made a considerable splash as executive chef of the now defunct Bistro Dom. That would come as no surprise to anyone familiar with his resumé, with meaningful stints at Restaurant Gordon Ramsey, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, as well as The Fat Duck…

    • Alberto’s Lounge
    • New South Wales, Sydney CBD

    • 2020

    2020 Top 50

    Toby Hilton and brothers Anton and Stefan Forte of The Swillhouse Group have been responsible for some game-changing bars in Sydney, from Shady Pines Saloon to Baxter Inn and Frankie’s Pizza. More recently, they have had restaurants in their sights, with Restaurant Hubert, then Alberto’s Lounge, in 2018, gently shaking the foundations of Sydney dining…

    • Arc Dining & Wine Bar
    • Queensland, Brisbane

    • 2019

    2019 Top 50

    The development of Howard Smith Wharves has taken grip of Brisbane like nothing before it, launching a raft of celebrated venues that are redefining that city’s dining and drinking scene. Arc Dining & Wine Bar is no small player in this revolution, with the 100-seat restaurant and 140-seat wine bar opening in early 2019 to…

    • Arlechin
    • Victoria, Melbourne City

    • 2019

    2019 Top 50

    The Grossi family have been slowly spreading out from their iconic flagship, Grossi Florentino. First, by occupying their eastern neighbour with Ombra Samuli Bar, then by making use of a long-held space across the rear lane to launch a classically hidden Melbourne bolthole, Arlechin, servicing the needs of those that favour the darker hours. And…

    • Aubergine
    • ACT, Griffith

    • 2018

    2018 Top 50

    There’s nothing stuffy about Aubergine, just a cool refinement that runs right through it. Tablecloths surrender to the warmth of polished timber, dark walls and charcoal carpet cocoon, and the high-backed chairs of old have been replaced with a mid-century vibe, as has the cabinetry.

    • Bar Liberty
    • Victoria, Fitzroy

    • 2018, 2019, 2020

    2020 Top 50
    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    Bar Liberty is a canvas for the talents of ex-Attica duo Banjo Harris Plane and Michael Bascetta, a disruptor, a chance to throw out the formality, the rules, and have at it with instinct and raw talent.

    • Bar Rochford
    • ACT, Canberra

    • 2018, 2019, 2020

    2020 Top 50
    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    Bar Rochford’s location in the historic Melbourne Building, which was built in 1927, is perhaps salient. When owner Nick Smith opened the doors in 2016, he’d taken inspiration both from the classic wine bars of Europe and the small bars that Melbourne is so well known for. And while Bar Rochford would slip into the…

    • Bar Torino
    • South Australia, Adelaide CBD

    • 2018

    2018 Top 50

    Bar Torino started its life as an adjunct to Nick and Jess Favaro’s restaurant Chianti, long one of the most loved dining spots in Adelaide. Launched as a Spanish-Italian hybrid, it operated as a standalone bar, but also doubled as a waiting room for the perennially popular Chianti, a place where a plate or two…

    • Bellota
    • Victoria, South Melbourne

    • 2018, 2019

    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    The bolthole that is Bellota is somewhat of a sanctuary to wine lovers in a South Melbourne so steeped in pub culture. A modestly sized bistro set in a renovated terrace house in Bank Street, Bellota seats about 40 inside, which doubles out the front and at the rear when the sun shines. Still, even…

    • Bentley Restaurant & Bar
    • New South Wales, Sydney CBD

    • 2018, 2020

    2020 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    Brent Savage and Nick Hildebrandt’s influence on dining and drinking in Sydney is hard to underestimate. They now have four restaurants under their umbrella, but it was with Bentley Restaurant + Bar that they found their long stride. And that original combination of Hildebrandt’s adventurous wine selections and Savage’s clever cooking is as exciting as…

    • Bibo Wine Bar
    • New South Wales, Double Bay

    • 2018, 2019, 2020

    2020 Top 50
    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    Paul Jones brought some useful things with him when he set up Bibo Wine Bar in an old leather-goods shop in Bay Street Double Bay. Although he didn’t have the operational skills to run a wine bar, he did know how to build and fit one out. As well as being an architect, Paul has…

    • Billie H
    • Western Australia, Claremont

    • 2018

    2018 Top 50

    Fair to say that Daniel Goodsell had worked in his fair share of Perth’s finest food and wine establishments, having spent nearly two decades setting up and running establishments with Little Creatures co-founder and serial restaurateur Nic Trimboli, including Duende, Balthazar, Gordon Street Garage and Bread in Common. Although Daniel had equity arrangements in some…

    • Blackbird
    • Queensland, Brisbane

    • 2018

    2018 Top 50

    There’s nothing demure about Blackbird. From its decadent Jazz Age fit out to the expansive views across the Brisbane River, taking in Story Bridge and the Kangaroo Point Cliffs, Blackbird is very confident about its message. The Gatsbyesque motif runs deep, with it informing the lavish pitch of the two bars and dining spaces, which…

    • Budburst Small Bar
    • Western Australia, Mount Hawthorn

    • 2018

    2018 Top 50

    Budburst was acclaimed sommelier Rachael Niall’s first foray into her own wine bar/restaurant, taking over from what was the Wee Bar in 2015, in Mount Hawthorn, Perth. Stripping back the previously eccentric decor to distressed brickwork accented with the warmth of timber, Niall created a casual and comfortable vibe with a distinctly European slant. The…

    • Carlton Wine Room
    • Victoria, Carlton

    • 2018, 2019, 2020

    2020 Top 50
    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    After losing its way a little in its latter years, the Carlton Wine Room was rebooted in early 2018 by somewhat of a hospitality dream team: Andrew Joy (former manager of Marion and Cumulus Up) , Travis Howe (Coda and Tonka sommelier and co-owner) and chef John Paul Twomey (who opened Cutler & Co. as…

    • City Wine Shop
    • Victoria, Melbourne City

    • 2018, 2019, 2020

    2020 Top 50
    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    From a single site adjacent to the Princes Theatre, business partners Con Christopoulos and Josh Melbourne have – over the course of a decade or two – acquired the entire Spring Street frontage up to the lane that borders the Imperial Hotel. Starting with the European and Melbourne Supper Club – which saved a whole…

    • Clever Little Tailor
    • South Australia, Adelaide CBD

    • 2018

    2018 Top 50

    Clever Little Tailor is somewhat of a veteran now, having opened in 2013 when bars like this in Adelaide – that are now thankfully somewhat more prevalent – were just a dream. With a relaxation of the licensing laws approved – much like the ones that spearheaded the Melbourne and Sydney small-bar booms – Dana…

    • Cru Bar & Cellar
    • Queensland, Fortitude Valley

    • 2018, 2019, 2020

    2020 Top 50
    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    Cru Bar & Cellar is woven into the fabric of Brisbane, with the pioneering venue never seeming to show its age, even after over a decade and a half. Wrapped around a central onyx bar, tables skirt the perimeter of the building, with patrons even seated on the sills of the retractable windows, almost spilling…

    • Dear Sainte Éloise
    • New South Wales, Potts Point

    • 2018, 2019, 2020

    2020 Top 50
    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    At Geralds, the early arrivals dictate the open bottles, which can be switched around once exhausted, with ten typically open at any one time.

    • East End Cellars
    • South Australia, Adelaide CBD

    • 2018, 2019

    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    East End Cellars is one of this country’s most enduring retailers of fine wine, with Michael Andrewartha’s Vardon Street store offering Adelaide an unparalleled selection for over two decades. Today, the original site is occupied by the wine bar Mother Vine, which he also owns. The original East End Cellars flame burns bright, though, with…

    • Eightysix
    • ACT, Braddon

    • 2019

    2019 Top 50

    Gus Armstrong opened eightysix in the hotspot that is Braddon’s Lonsdale Street back in 2013. An industry veteran, though not a chef, he threw himself into the kitchen (alongside more qualified hands) to create a menu unbound by convention, and he was intent on delivering it in a way that would both attract and repel….

    • Embla
    • Victoria, Melbourne City

    • 2018, 2019, 2020

    2020 Top 50
    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    Some years back, Christian McCabe left behind successful restaurant Matterhorn, in Wellington, to try his luck across the Tasman. That first venture was the celebrated, though now closed, Town Mouse in Drummond Street, Carlton. Along with Town Mouse chef and co-owner Dave Verheul (a Matterhorn alumnus), McCabe branched out further, and more boldly, in 2016,…

    • Ester
    • New South Wales, Chippendale

    • 2018, 2019, 2020

    2020 Top 50
    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    Amongst a happily crowded field that has been redefining the culinary landscape in this country, Mat Lindsay has stood out somewhat since the opening of his ground-breaking restaurant Ester in 2013. Working with the very back-to-basics essential of today’s chef–fire–he has forged (pardon the pun) a singular path of deceptively simple and visually exquisite dishes…

    • Etta
    • Victoria, Brunswick East

    • 2020

    2020 Top 50

    Hannah Green’s Etta has firmly established itself as the vibrantly busy neighbourhood restaurant that she set out to create back in 2017. That feel of a local place, a bistro and wine bar, a community favourite is strong in Etta’s DNA, but so too are the crisp skills and wine expertise that Green forged working…

    • Ettie’s
    • Tasmania, Hobart

    • 2018, 2019

    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    At Geralds, the early arrivals dictate the open bottles, which can be switched around once exhausted, with ten typically open at any one time.

    • Exeter Hotel
    • South Australia, Adelaide CBD

    • 2019

    2019 Top 50

    The Exeter Hotel perhaps best embodies the winemaking mantra that “it takes a lot of beer to make good wine.” Long a haunt for winemakers, wine writers and wine lovers, the Exeter is one of Adelaide’s most beloved establishments, and one where any affectation is left at the door. The Exeter knocked any wine drinking…

    • Fix Wine Bar + Restaurant
    • New South Wales, Sydney CBD

    • 2018, 2019, 2020

    2020 Top 50
    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    Sommelier Stuart Knox got his start in the wine game after begging to be promoted from waiter to Sommelier at London institution Bibendum, Terence Conran’s first restaurant. Three years later, and the young Knox had quite the education after handling the 1500-bin wine list (compiled by Matthew Jukes at the time) and a discerning clientele…

    • Fleet
    • New South Wales, Brunswick Heads

    • 2020

    2020 Top 50

    Located in Brunswick Heads, just 15 minutes from the buzz of Byron Bay, Fleet is about as compact a restaurant as you’ll find, with just 14 seats, mainly arrayed down the table-height concrete bar, with high stools facing out the front window. In its five years, Fleet has helped to redefine dining possibilities outside of…

    • France-Soir
    • Victoria, South Yarra

    • 2018, 2019, 2020

    2020 Top 50
    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    Words like ‘institution’ and ‘iconic’ get tossed around a lot, and not always with deep justification. But France-Soir, near the top of the Toorak Road hill in Melbourne’s South Yarra, has earned both of those monikers, and some time ago. It is indeed an iconic institution, and an establishment with a loyal following that few…

    • Franklin
    • Tasmania, Hobart

    • 2019

    2019 Top 50

    Located in an old Ford showroom in Hobart’s historic Mercury Newspaper Building, Franklin opened with somewhat of a pop. Founding chef, David Moyle, proved a revelation with his locally sourced and deceptively simple cooking, relying heavily on the sheer quality of the produce and fire-fuelled cooking. Franklin changed Hobart like Garagistes did, and not unlike…

    • Fratelli Paradiso
    • New South Wales, Potts Point

    • 2018

    2018 Top 50

    Fratelli Paradiso’s founders, brothers Giovanni and Enrico Paradiso, and Marco Ambrosino, all hail from Melbourne (like Sydney’s other favourite adopted Italian-Australian son, Maurizio Terzini), but decided to make the move north to open their iconic Potts Point restaurant in 2001. Today, Fratelli Paradiso is unarguably one of Sydney’s modern institutions, as it eases towards completing…

    • Gauge
    • Queensland, Brisbane

    • 2018

    2018 Top 50

    Gauge is Jerome Batten’s second venue, building from his well-loved Sourced Grocer in Newstead. While the latter captures a produce store and café in one brief, Gauge dabbles in weekend breakfast/bunch trade, but is perhaps best known for its two, three and seven course dinner offerings. Batten opened Gauge in 2015 with chef Cormac Bradfield…

    • Geralds Bar
    • Victoria, Carlton North

    • 2018, 2020

    2020 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    At Geralds, the early arrivals dictate the open bottles, which can be switched around once exhausted, with ten typically open at any one time.

    • Gerard’s Bistro
    • Queensland, Fortitude Valley

    • 2018

    2018 Top 50

    In Fortitude Valley’s restaurant mecca of James Street, Gerard’s Bistro has been turning out its take on the flavours of the Middle East since 2012. The more formal dining arm of the Moubarak family’s Moubment Group (Laruche, Hatch + Co., Gerard’s Bar, The Defiant Duck) – whose Gallic-feeling name might make one think more of…

    • Gertrude Street Enoteca
    • Victoria, Fitzroy

    • 2018

    2018 Top 50

    While 2004 is hardly that long ago, it is in the veritable mists of time in respect to how much the wine-dispensing game has changed in Melbourne. Back then, James Broadway, an importer of Italian wine and Slow Food evangelist, and chef Brigitte Hafner, who had worked with Neil Perry, Kylie Kwong, Guy Grossi, Greg…

    • Harvest
    • New South Wales, Newrybar

    • 2018

    2018 Top 50

    Many restaurants talk about sustainability, but few take the issue as seriously as Harvest in the village of Newrybar, in Byron Bay’s hinterland – solar panels (aiming to be off the grid by 2022), grey-water recycling, green waste composting, a zero-waste kitchen, glass straws… the list really does go on. And aside from the food…

    • Havilah
    • Tasmania, Launceston

    • 2020

    2020 Top 50

    Opening a hospitality venture during a global pandemic is not something that even the most thorough business plan would address (well, they might now). But Ricky Evans and Chanel Parratt’s plans on opening a wine bar – aligning Evans’ Two Tonne Tasmania and Havilah wine labels with like-minded makers – were not going to be…

    • Hellbound
    • South Australia, Adelaide CBD

    • 2018, 2019, 2020

    2020 Top 50
    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    If you judged a book by its cover, you might never peg Hellbound as a serious wine bar. The retro-feel ‘wine bar’ sign that points prospective customers down a flight of stairs may be encouraging, but it speaks more of dive bar than it does Willi’s Wine Bar. There’s a giant caricature of a Rousseau…

    • Il Lido
    • Western Australia, Cottesloe

    • 2018

    2018 Top 50

    Overlooking the pristine white sand and sparkling blue waters of Cottesloe beach, Il Lido is perched on Marine Parade in a former 1930s cabaret hall. The Art Deco exterior evokes the spirit of pre-war beach culture (be it Cottesloe or Bondi) in its functional white-washed form, but once past the threshold, Art Deco embellishment can…

    • Institut Polaire
    • Tasmania, Hobart

    • 2018

    2018 Top 50

    Hobart’s Institut Polaire is housed in a distinctly cosy space, with the proportions dictated by one of Hobart’s classic historic building, which abuts the Customs House Hotel. And while the hotel spills over multiple classified buildings, Institut Polaire occupies the ground floor of just one, with 30 guests squeezing the interior to capacity. But although…

    • Italian and Sons
    • ACT, Braddon

    • 2019

    2019 Top 50

    The Trimboli family already had a firm Italian dining foothold in Canberra with their much lauded Mezzalira restaurant in London Circuit, but almost 15 years after opening that Canberra institution, they have perhaps become best known, outside Canberra at least, for their ground-breaking foray into Braddon, with Italian and Sons. Braddon has become one of…

    • Kirk’s Wine Bar
    • Victoria, Melbourne City

    • 2018, 2019

    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    Just as Con Christopoulos was almost single-handedly responsible for reclaiming the Paris end of Melbourne’s city from what looked like terminal decline some decades ago, he too is redrawing the borders west of Elizabeth Street. In territory mired in restaurant touts, with menus pitched mainly to a tourist audience, and otherwise populated by city workers…

    • La Buvette
    • South Australia, Adelaide CBD

    • 2018

    2018 Top 50

    La Buvette could not proclaim its Frenchness any more emphatically, with the retro-Parisian exterior a striking blue that could have been lifted straight from The Tricolore, and name and purpose stated in classic script font and oh-so Gallic drop shadow. Yes, it’s immediately clear what you’re in for at La Buvette. Well, to a degree….

    • La Lune Wine Co
    • Queensland, South Brisbane

    • 2018, 2019, 2020

    2020 Top 50
    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    Until he opened La Lune Wine Co, Paul Mc Givern was perhaps best known for his exploits on the fine dining scene, notably at East Brisbane’s The Wolfe, which achieved its fair share of critical acclaim. And though McGivern has pushed again into that sphere, with the opening of his eagerly anticipated Corella, at the…

    • La Lupa
    • Queensland, West End

    • 2019, 2020

    2020 Top 50
    2019 Top 50

    Andrea Contin and Valentina Vigni opened La Lupa Pizza Bar to celebrate their Italian heritage, but also to move forward, to redefine where necessary. Situated in Brisbane’s West End at the base of the Light + Co. apartment building, which was built on the site that provided the gas for Brisbane’s gas street lighting back…

    • Lalla Rookh
    • Western Australia, Perth City

    • 2018, 2019, 2020

    2020 Top 50
    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    Down a flight or two of stairs, Lalla Rookh Bar & Eating House is tucked well away from the business-minded bustle of St Georges Terrace in Perth’s CBD. Indeed, it is somewhat of a sanctuary from the traffic and the soaring glass and concrete, a relaxed ‘tavern’ (their words) that also has an enviable food…

    • Le Rebelle
    • Western Australia, Mount Lawley

    • 2020

    2020 Top 50

    Before launching Le Rebelle in 2019, Sarah and Liam Atkinson had certainly done some yards. Over the years, the pair have worked at some of Perth’s hottest destinations, including, collectively, at Print Hall, Star Anise and wine mecca Lalla Rookh. The husband and wife duo had also previously teamed up to open Miss Kitty’s Saloon…

    • Leigh Street Wine Room
    • South Australia, Adelaide CBD

    • 2020

    2020 Top 50

    Leigh Street Wine Room is one of those rare places that feels like it’s been there for decades, smoothed and polished over the years. It hasn’t, of course, with LSWR still shy of registering its first birthday. But Nathan and Sali Sasi’s temple to natural wine has made its mark in indelible fashion, anchoring itself…

    • Liberté
    • Western Australia, Albany

    • 2020

    2020 Top 50

    Amy Hamilton’s Liberté was somewhat of a leader at a time when Perth was still yet to fully flex its dining muscle. That Hamilton had set up shop some 500 kilometres south of the capital, in Albany, says even more about what a trailblazer her modern nod to the nexus of French and Vietnamese cuisine…

    • Los Bravos
    • Western Australia, Northbridge

    • 2019

    2019 Top 50

    Emma Ferguson and Daniel Morris are assembling a formidable group of venues. First, they reworked long-term player Balthazar, which was joined by No Mafia, a wine bar loosely styled on the local wine bars of Italy’s south, with food and vino to match, and more recently by their Northbridge tapas bar, Los Bravos. Los Bravos’…

    • Love, Tilly Devine
    • New South Wales, Darlinghurst

    • 2018, 2019, 2020

    2020 Top 50
    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    Love, Tilly Devine (named after notorious brothel madam and organised crime boss Matilda Devine) slipped into its long stride shortly after it opened in 2010. Although it’s hard now to imagine how it could not succeed, so firmly is it imprinted on Sydney’s identity, Matt Swieboda’s move away from the embrace of Peter Gilmore’s highly…

    • Lucinda
    • Tasmania, Hobart

    • 2019, 2020

    2020 Top 50
    2019 Top 50

    Kobi Ruzicka had a wine bar concept in the mental planning stage for quite some years, but it was the opportunity to lease the site adjoining his acclaimed Hobart restaurant, Dier Makr, that finally saw it realised. The exit of the café was well timed, as Ruzicka’s restaurant was soaking up a good bit of…

    • Lulu La Delizia
    • Western Australia, Subiaco

    • 2020

    2020 Top 50

    Joel Valvasori-Pereza first introduced Perth’s dining public to the joys of Friulian cuisine with his lengthy stint as Head Chef at Lalla Rookh. After turning in his apron in 2016, a new venture wasn’t far off, with the chef opening Lulu La Delizia in Subiaco by the end of the year. It’s hard to overestimate…

    • Madalena’s
    • Western Australia, South Fremantle

    • 2020

    2020 Top 50

    Before Joel Rees and Danielle de Almeida opened Madalena’s, they were Fremantle food truck pioneers. In 2013, they talked the council into approving a permit for their mobile offering of Brazilian Street Food, Comida do Sul. That van became a welcome site on Fremantle’s streets, as well at festivals, weddings and other events. Now with…

    • Maeve
    • Queensland, South Brisbane

    • 2019, 2020

    2020 Top 50
    2019 Top 50

    Maeve Wine Bar is housed in somewhat of an enviable site, with it backing onto Brisbane’s thriving Fish Lane precinct, but perhaps more significant is the grandeur of the heritage building whose first floor it occupies. Built in 1929 for the Queensland National Bank, the nods to classical architecture have been given new life in…

    • Marion
    • Victoria, Fitzroy

    • 2018, 2019, 2020

    2020 Top 50
    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    If Gertrude Street Enoteca and the City Wine Shop are the pioneers of Melbourne’s drink-in wine stores, then Andrew McConnell’s Cumulus Up and Marion can lay reasonable claim to capturing the essence of what are, somewhat inelegantly, known as ‘barstaurants’. Perhaps this pitching of wine and food in equal measure was not necessarily the intent,…

    • Mary’s Underground
    • New South Wales, Circular Quay

    • 2019

    2019 Top 50

    When the news of the imminent closure of legendary jazz club The Basement broke, it seemed like another nail in Sydney’s live music and late-night frivolity coffin. Well, until the masters of loudness, late nights and boundless frivolity stepped in to not only rescue the venue as a live music mecca, but to do so…

    • Monopole
    • New South Wales, Potts Point

    • 2018, 2019

    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    Nick Hildebrandt and Brent Savage are a formidable duo, founding landmark restaurants Bentley Restaurant + Bar, Yellow, Cirrus and their Macleay St wine bar-slash-restaurant, Monopole. Hildebrandt is one of Sydney’s most celebrated and influential wine minds, crafting lists over the years that have pushed boundaries like few others, while Savage has very much had the…

    • Mother Vine
    • South Australia, Adelaide CBD

    • 2018, 2019, 2020

    2020 Top 50
    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    In 2014, Pablo Theodoros (The Stanley Bridge Tavern), Frank Hannon-Tan (Amalfi Ristorante), Michael Andrewartha (East End Cellars) and David LeMire MW took possession of the old East End Cellars site to open Mother Vine. Starting as a wine bar with some simple snacks, Mother Vine has grown to become one of Adelaide’s most-loved food and…

    • Napier Quarter
    • Victoria, Fitzroy

    • 2019, 2020

    2020 Top 50
    2019 Top 50

    Daniel Lewis and Simon Benjamin have given the ‘small is beautiful’ mantra somewhat more credence with their charmingly petite all-day eatery, Napier Quarter. Lewis hails from Brisbane, while Benjamin would be known by many a Melburnian as the former part-owner and front man of the much cherished, and also modestly proportioned, institution that is Bar…

    • Neighbourhood Wine
    • Victoria, Fitzroy North

    • 2018, 2019

    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    Up a flight of stairs above long-term wood-fired pizza player Woodstock in Fitzroy North, Neighbourhood Wine occupies a site of both individual charm and somewhat dubious history. Before brothers Simon and Matt Denman, and chef Almay Jordaan took possession of the first-floor title that stretches over two shopfronts, it had remained idle for a quarter…

    • Ode
    • New South Wales, Bondi

    • 2020

    2020 Top 50

    Ode, on Bondi Road, Bondi, is very much a local’s haunt that blurs the line between casual restaurant and wine bar, as many modern wine-centred hotspots do. But that notion of being a neighbourhood place (bar, restaurant, wine bar…) – somewhat carefree, familiar, pretence free – shouldn’t be mistaken for a lack of depth. Ode…

    • Old Palm Liquor
    • Victoria, Brunswick East

    • 2020

    2020 Top 50

    Old Palm Liquor is the new Lygon Street sibling of the already iconic Neighbourhood Wine. Opening in 2013, and expressly reflecting it’s anchoring in the local area, Simon Denman and Almay Jordaan’s Neighbourhood Wine has also become a destination for those further afield, drawn by Jordaan’s Euro-leaning menu and the vast collection of minimal-intervention wine…

    • Petition Wine Merchant
    • Western Australia, Perth City

    • 2020

    2020 Top 50

    After a $100 million restoration, the State Buildings are now home to some of Perth’s most exciting hospitality establishments, with three of them under the Petition umbrella. The restaurant side of things, simply called Petition, is open all day, with service stretching from 7 am (8 am on weekends) right through until late into the…

    • Poly
    • New South Wales, Surry Hills

    • 2019, 2020

    2020 Top 50
    2019 Top 50

    When Matt Lindsay and business partner Julien Dromgool took on the lease for the corner site in the recently completed and uber hip Paramount House Hotel, in Commonwealth Street, their aim was not to turn out another Ester, their critically acclaimed and much-loved Chippendale wood-fired fine diner. Well, fine diner is perhaps not truly reflective…

    • Ragazzi
    • New South Wales, Sydney CBD

    • 2020

    2020 Top 50

    Matthew Swieboda has made more than a little impact on the Sydney drinking scene, with his iconic Love Tilly Devine refashioning what Sydney-siders drank and how they drank it. That swing from the formal to the personal, from the conventional to the artisanal, was given further flight with his collaboration with Nathaniel Hatwell at Dear…

    • Restaurant Hubert
    • New South Wales, Sydney CBD

    • 2018

    2018 Top 50

    Jason Scott and brothers Anton and Stefan Forte, from the Swillhouse Group, had plenty of success under their belts (The Baxter Inn, Frankie’s Pizza, Shady Pines) when they conceived of Restaurant Hubert, but as deeply considered and painstakingly realised as their other venues were, nothing can truly prepare one for the breath-takingly ambitious Restaurant Hubert….

    • Settlers Tavern
    • Western Australia, Margaret River

    • 2018, 2019, 2020

    2020 Top 50
    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    Margaret River’s beloved Settlers Tavern started life in the 1970s as a haven for surfers, riffraff not considered suitable for the pub that serviced the then 1000 residents of the township of Margaret River. Since then, the population has grown six-fold, and Settler’s Tavern has grown with it, becoming a live music hub, as well…

    • Snack Man
    • Queensland, Fortitude Valley

    • 2020

    2020 Top 50

    Snack Man is Cameron and Jordan Votan’s moody adjunct to their well-lit, minimalist canteen, Happy Boy. While the latter focuses on dishes from the barbecue and blisteringly hot woks, with craft beer and local small-producer wines, the latter is all, unsurprisingly enough, about snacks, or small plates, with inspiration coming from regional Chinese cuisine, and…

    • Sonny
    • Tasmania, Hobart

    • 2020

    2020 Top 50

    Chef Matt Breen does compact particularly well. Following on from the success of his lauded bolt hole of a restaurant, Templo, in Hobart, Breen went smaller again, opening Sonny in 2019. Both venues accommodate about 20 patrons in a sitting, but at Templo we’re talking tables and chairs and a focus on dining, while Sonny…

    • Stillwater
    • Tasmania, Launceston

    • 2020

    2020 Top 50

    While Hobart has soaked up a good deal of the spotlight over the last little while, Launceston is home to one of Tasmania’s most iconic restaurants, the pioneering Stillwater. Occupying the historic Ritchie’s Mill – an 1830s flour mill – at the entrance to the Cataract Gorge on the banks of the Tamar, Stillwater has…

    • Stone House
    • Northern Territory, Darwin

    • 2018, 2019

    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    The Northern Territory isn’t the first place that comes to mind when one thinks of wine, or wine bars. In fact, it’s likely that Stone House Wine Bar & Kitchen, in Darwin, is probably the first. At least the first that one might easily recognise as such once through the front door. Founded by Rebecca…

    • Strange Company
    • Western Australia

    • 2019

    2019 Top 50

    They say that things made by committee are the lesser for it, products of compromise that satisfy no-one. Well, Strange Company, in Fremantle, is a stark exception to this rule. With five partners – Greg Leaver, Matt Giudice, Jason Townes and the Travers brothers, Clancy and Darcy – Strange Company was very much designed to…

    • Supernatural
    • New South Wales, Byron Bay

    • 2019

    2019 Top 50

    Surprisingly, Supernatural is Byron Bay’s first natural wine bar. Surprising in that Byron is at once one of the most connected and disconnected of seaside towns. With some of this country’s most expensive real estate, it is the playground of the wealthy, with Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne standards and trends running parallel, but it is…

    • The Alps
    • Victoria, Prahran

    • 2018

    2018 Top 50

    From his original base at Toorak Cellars, Lyndon Kubis, along with business partners Renton Carlyle and Mark Hopkinson, have expanded into territory less well serviced, including Milton in Malvern and the notoriously dry zone of Surrey Hills (not to be confused with Sydney’s Surry hills, which is afforded much better amenity) in Melbourne’s east, with…

    • The Dolphin Hotel
    • New South Wales, Surry Hills

    • 2018, 2019

    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    Sydney’s favourite Melbourne restaurateur transplant, Maurizio Terzini (well, he’s vying for that tag with the lads from Fratelli Paradiso…), pitched back into the pub game after a decade and a half (Melbourne Wine Room being his first foray) of focusing on restaurants, launching the new look Dolphin Hotel in 2016. And what a distillation of…

    • The Salopian Inn
    • South Australia, McLaren Vale

    • 2020

    2020 Top 50

    The Salopian Inn is about as iconic as a regional restaurant gets, setting the tone for McLaren Vale dining for decades. Karena Armstrong took over that revered 1851 homestead in 2013, and she has elevated it even further to be one of South Australia’s most acclaimed dining destinations, as well as a mecca for wine…

    • The Summertown Aristologist
    • South Australia, Summertown

    • 2018, 2019, 2020

    2020 Top 50
    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    On the face of it, The Summertown Aristologist is a restaurant that acts as a showcase for the wines of Anton van Klopper (Lucy Margaux) and Jasper Button (Commune of Buttons). But it’s a lot more than that. A whole lot more. Van Klopper sat on the lease of an old shop on Greenhhill Road…

    • The Valley Wine Bar
    • Queensland, Fortitude Valley

    • 2019

    2019 Top 50

    Over the last little while, Lyndon Kubis and Renton Carlyle have amassed a considerable collection of well-loved wine bars in Melbourne (The Moon, Toorak Cellars, Milton Wine Bar, The Hills and The Alps), and perhaps it was only a matter of time before they spread their wings. Leaping over closer neighbours, notably Canberra and Sydney,…

    • Tom McHugo’s Hobart Hotel
    • Tasmania, Hobart

    • 2019, 2020

    2020 Top 50
    2019 Top 50

    Whitney Ball and Tom Westcott had some serious restaurant credentials before they took the lease on the Hobart Hotel some two-and-a-bit years ago. The couple’s last stint before self-employment was at the revered Franklin, with Ball managing the front of house and Westcott on the pans. The move to a pub that has long been…

    • Union Street Wine
    • Victoria, Geelong

    • 2020

    2020 Top 50

    While Melbourne may have fallen for the enoteca model of wine bar somewhat earlier, it wasn’t until the arrival of Andy Leigh and Lewis Phiddian’s Union Street Wine in early 2014 that Geelong properly succumbed to its charms. Gutting an old shopfront with the help of family and friends, the pair installed a bespoke polished…

    • Where’s Nick
    • New South Wales, Marrickville

    • 2020

    2020 Top 50

    Brothers Julian and Dominic Abouzeid opened their Marrickville wine bar, Where’s Nick, in 2017, with the third brother taking naming rights only. The story, as they tell it, was that the project was built around the three siblings, but Nick insists he never agreed to be involved. As they say, “he [said he] wanted nothing…

    • Willing Brothers
    • Tasmania, Hobart

    • 2018, 2019

    2019 Top 50
    2018 Top 50

    Before the confidently elegant Ettie’s opened its doors in the old Hobart Hotel building, Carl Windsor and James Kingston were best known for their North Hobart wine bar, Willing Brothers Wine Merchants. Housed in an old shop front, Willing Brothers is a few hundred street numbers north up Elizabeth Street and doesn’t quite have the…

    • Wines of While
    • Western Australia, Perth

    • 2019, 2020

    2020 Top 50
    2019 Top 50

    Sam Winfield likes to keep busy. And he likes to follow his heart. At a point when his career as a surgeon (yes, it’s Dr Winfield, thank you very much) was blossoming, Winfield threw his energy into an empty Federation Art Nouveau shopfront at the top of William Street, Northbridge, with the aim of creating…

    • Winespeake
    • Victoria, Daylesford

    • 2020

    2020 Top 50

    Winespeake Cellar + Deli is Daylesford’s brand-spanking new wine and cheese mecca. Well, that’s true and untrue at the same time. Winespeake is the evolution of Jen and Owen Latta’s Wine & The Country, Daylesford’s previous wine and food mecca. Thankfully, closing the doors on their much-loved seven-year-old wine-store-wine-bar-deli in the middle of a global…

    • WyNo x Bodega
    • New South Wales, Surry Hills

    • 2020

    2020 Top 50

    WyNo x Bodega is a merger of two of Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz’s businesses. The pair, who gave Sydney dining a fair shake with their fire-fuelled homage to Argentinian barbecue, Porteño, first broke onto the scene with Bodega in 2006. Today, their stable of restaurants – exclusively run or as partnerships – ia an…

    • XO
    • ACT, Narrabundah

    • 2018

    2018 Top 50

    While the name XO may convey that most emblematic of Hong Kong sauces (as well as Cognac, if that’s where it takes you), XO restaurant, in the Canberra inner suburb of Narrabundah, is far from confined to a regional cuisine, no matter how cosmopolitan that cuisine may be. XO draws broadly on the cooking of…