If you love wine, the inner north west is home to some of the best wine bars in Melbourne. Check them out the next time you're looking for a new place to visit.
The Vale Bar & Eatery [169 Union Road, Ascot Vale] is the kind of bar where the staff knows your glass is running low before you do. With dim lighting, purple walls and candles flickering on each table, the atmosphere is intimate yet always buzzing. This wine bar is the perfect place to enjoy a romantic meal on a table by the window or to catch up over a bottle of wine with friends. We recommend ordering a glass of Sangiovese and pairing it with the arancini balls made with mushroom and truffle oil or, if you’re after something more filling, the pizzas are also delicious. Save a pretty penny by going in after 9pm on Fridays nights to enjoy free cheese with any bottle of wine.
Penny Young [22 Young Street, Moonee Ponds] is a beer hall-style bar serving unique cocktails, craft beer and, of course, wine. It’s open late every night of the week and has a retractable roof, perfect for Melbourne’s ever-changing weather. In the unlikely situation that you can’t find anything on the wine list in the bar, you can pop over to the bottle shop next door and choose any bottle over $25 to enjoy (plus corkage). It’s a great spot to meet friends for a wine and pizza night.
Hero image source: @mooneeponds3039
Image credit: Dylan Kindermann
The Suburban Cellar Door [24 Puckle Street, Moonee Ponds] is a new kid on the block in Moonee Ponds. Specialising in organic, vegan and small-batch wines, this boutique Puckle Street wine bar focuses on sustainability and supporting Australian produce. It offers a relaxed atmosphere, fantastic to be part of with friends so be ready for a night of board games, laughs and unpretentious wine. They serve cheese but welcome outside food and as it’s surrounded by restaurants, you’ll be spoilt for choice. We recommend trying the caramelised salmon claypot from Bar Sar next door.
This corner-store wine bar might have only opened in February, but Modest Hugh [185 Mount Alexander Road, Flemington] has quickly become a go-to for locals and is usually buzzing every night. The staff is always willing to help you if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the impressive wine list. Although there is a specific by-the-glass menu, check what else they have open — you might be able to enjoy a drop that’s usually by-the-bottle only. If you’re peckish, the cheese plates are calling your name. They're filled with cheese from local supplier Harper & Blohm, artfully arranged alongside delicious accompaniments like quince paste.
Image Source: @modesthugh
The idea for The Valley Cellar Door [18–20 Hall Street, Moonee Ponds] was born during a family dinner — and a glass of wine or two — when brothers Tony and Mark Pendreich dreamed up opening a bar. The combination of Mark’s excellent knowledge of wine (he trained as a sommelier in Europe) and Tony’s love of beer is clear in their unpretentious and welcoming bar. With its walls filled with wines from around the world and knowledgeable staff to help make your choice, this bar is a wine-lover’s dream. Pull up a pew in the beer garden and enjoy a glass of wine paired with something from its simple yet delicious menu of pizzas and charcuterie boards.
Image source: supplied by The Valley Cellar Door
Biagios Wine Bar [336A Keilor Road, Niddrie] is a favourite in this small eclectic suburb. You’ll quickly feel at home as you sip a glass of vino and enjoy a charcuterie board. Nearly every night of the week, there’s something on to keep patrons coming back: live music on Sunday afternoons, cheap wine and pizza on Saturdays and $5 bubbly and music on Friday nights. If you have a non-wine drinking friend in your posse, espresso martinis here are $10 every day during happy hour from 5pm to 7pm and all night on Thursdays.
Strangeloves [577 Mount Alexander Road, Moonee Ponds] is an intimate 1930s-style wine bar that oozes class. The by-the-glass menu changes regularly so there’s always something different to try and it’s worth getting in early so you can grab a spot by the fire with a game of Cards Against Humanity and a big glass of red. The staff here is famously knowledgeable and love to share their top picks, adding to the relaxed and homey vibe. If you’re feeling peckish, go for one of the cheese platters. Or, if you’re after something a bit bigger, you can order something from the surrounding restaurants and enjoy inside. There is plenty to choose from, but we recommend trying the green curry at Khao San Road opposite.
Image Source: @smartcloud_bookkeeping
Ascot Vale Cellars [154 Union Road, Ascot Vale] is an unassuming bottle shop and bar with fridges filled with top-notch beverages lining one wall and tables lining the other. It’s a popular hangout with the locals and there’s usually a loyal group of regulars enjoying a drink inside. Every second Saturday of the month from 7pm till late, you can enjoy live music from acoustic bands while sipping on your favourite drop.
Although Jimmy’s Tap and Barrel’s [164 Union Road, Ascot Vale] name suggests it focusses on whisky and beer, the wine selection here is top notch too. Serving the best craft beer and mostly Australian wines, Jimmy’s is perfect if your friends are divided when it comes to their drink of choice. The simple food menu mainly focuses on classic bar snacks like pretzels, beef jerky and mixed nuts, but they’ve also got a selection of cheese to pair with your drinks. In honour of the bar's namesake — Jimmy, the owner's dog – this bar is pet friendly. Why not bring your furry friends along for a non-alcoholic dog beverage.
Pin Oak Beer and Wine [42 Pin Oak Crescent, Flemington] is the newest edition to Flemington’s night scene. Every bottle of wine and can of beer stocked has been carefully chosen by the dedicated staff and everything is available to drink in or take away. The atmosphere is relaxed with board games to play and complimentary bar snacks (think pretzels and nuts). These guys also have a BYO food policy, so you can to order something from one of the local restaurants or simply bring your own snacks.
Image Source: @linhhdang
Mango Lounge [17 Hall Street, Moonee Ponds] is always buzzing with people enjoying wines to the soundtrack of funky tunes. The staff is passionate about music and there are regular live gigs as well as DJs spinning tracks on the weekends. During the week you’ll find a relaxed and classy bar, ideal for after work drinks or catching up with friends over a vino. On the weekend, the vibe transforms as DJs or bands get the dancefloor going.
Noughts and Crosses [32 Pin Oak Crescent, Flemington] is a cafe that becomes a wine bar on Thursday and Friday evenings, with live acoustic music and a tasty dinner menu. The owner Luke Armstrong is passionate about sourcing locally produced products, interior design, delicious wine and is usually up for a chat. With its friendly atmosphere and convenient location right opposite Newmarket Station, it’s easy to spend a couple of hours here over a bottle of wine shared with friends.
Union Wine Store [211 Union Road, Ascot Vale] is simple yet inviting. The shelves are stocked with boutique wines that are carefully chosen by owner Jeremy Honisett, from local and international growers. The rotating wine-by-the-glass list changes every four to six weeks, so you’ll always get to try something new. If you want to branch out from wine, they also stock local craft beers and spirits including Collingwood’s Stomping Ground brews and Healesville’s Four Pillars Gin. Check out the tasty menu of locally sourced cheese and snack platters.
Image source: supplied by Union Wine Store
All information is considered to be true and correct at the date of publication.
Except as otherwise noted, rights to all photographs posted on this website are owned by Discover Your Own Backyard.