Restaurant Guide

A city-by-city guide to Australia’s best bars

Our Bar of the Year that focuses on minimal-intervention wines, a micro-sized mezcal bar, and a raucous New York-channelling late-night bar. These are the best places for a drink according to our 2020 Restaurant Guide.
Bar Rochford, Canberra

Bar Rochford, Canberra.

Lean Timms


Maybe Mae

The platonic ideal of the swanky subterranean speakeasy.

What to order: The Bill Murray – a winning blend of Japanese whisky, apricot brandy, citrus and mint.

15 Peel St, Adelaide

Paloma Bar and Pantry

This worthy newcomer spruiks Med-inspired drinks, conservas and smallgoods in elegant, sleek surrounds.

What to order: The namesake Paloma.

20 Peel St, Adelaide

Pink Moon Saloon

Chalet meets laneway at this endlessly charming institution with craft brews, on-trend wines and creative cocktails.

What to order: Gin and juice, spiked with cardamom and celery.

21 Leigh St, Adelaide, 0473745570

The Tasting Room at East End Cellars

The whole bottle shop is your list. Browse carefully, pick a bottle, pay a mere $15 corkage and enjoy. Easy.

What to order: A flight from the featured winery of the week.

23-25 Vardon Ave, Adelaide, +61 8 8232 5300


Arc Wine Bar

Innovative snacks from the shared Arc Dining kitchen, a cracking by-the-glass collection and prime city views.

What to order: Pork hock and head terrine.

5 Boundary St, Brisbane, 07 3505 3980

1889 Enoteca

This Roman-accented wine bar boasts one of the country’s top natural wine lists and timeless pasta dishes.

What to order: A classic cacio e pepe.

10-12 Logan Rd, Woolloongabba, 07 3392 4315

The Gresham

Moody old-school drinking digs situated plumb in the centre of Brisbane City.

What to order: Death and Taxes, an ode to Irish whiskey with pineapple and ginger.

308 Queen St, Brisbane, 0437 360 158



Another one of Canberra’s backstreet secrets abounds with Italian wine and ripping woodfired pizze.

What to order: Quattro formaggi pizza.

7 Lonsdale St (enter via laneway), Braddon, (02) 6162 4888

Bar Rochford

Our 2018 Bar of the Year winner continues to be a standard-bearer in the natural wine and snack stakes.

What to order: Plum and lardo toast.

Level 1, 65 London Cct, Canberra, (02) 6230 6222


Institut Polaire

Cold-climate wines and cocktails made with Süd Polaire’s Antarctic dry spirits in a tundra-chic setting.

What to order: Monster prawns with tamari butter and peony capers.

1/7 Murray St, Hobart, +61 (0) 432 925 895


A spirited little wine bar brought to you by the Dier Makr gang. Minimal intervention is the mantra, with smart and seasonal share plates to match.

What to order: Pâté en croûte.

123 Collins St, Hobart

Lucinda, Hobart.


Bar Americano

Peak Melbourne: consummate classic cocktails in a tiny, hidden, standing room-only laneway bar. No photos.

What to order: An Americano, obviously.

20 Presgrave Pl, Melbourne

Bar Margaux

French by way of New York-channelling late-night bar from the folks behind The Everleigh. Stylishly raucous.

What to order: A Martini and a burger

Basement, 111 Lonsdale St, Melbourne, (03) 9650 0088

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Miraculous, mind-bending cocktails with city views at Heston’s Melbourne outpost bar.

What to order: An astonishing Bloody Mary.

Crown Towers, 8 Whiteman St, Southbank, (03) 9292 5779

Gerald’s Bar

An idiosyncratic masterclass in what a neighbourhood bar should be, including good food and vinyl-driven soundtrack.

What to order: Wine and cut-to-order salumi.

386 Rathdowne St, Carlton North, (03) 9349 4748

Romeo’s Lane

Precision cocktails, classic bar snacks, prescient bartenders in a gorgeous, intimate space.

What to order: The bartenders will tell you.

1a Crossley St, Melbourne, 0457 673 647


Petition Wine Bar & Merchant

Local? Imported? Drink-in? Takeaway? The State Buildings’ in-house enoteca is the wino’s happy place.

What to order: Leave it to former GT Sommelier of the Year, Emma Farrelly.

State Buildings, cnr St Georges Tce & Barrack St, Perth, +61 (8) 6168 7772

Rockpool Bar & Grill

Drink, snack, dinner and parts there-of: the bar at this elevated steakhouse is more than just a holding station.

What to order: Hand-cut fettuccine with wagyu Bolognese.

Crown Perth, Great Eastern Hwy, Burswood, +61 8 6252 1900

**Wines of While:

Gourmet Traveller’s Bar of the Year

Meet Wines of While: a 50-seat cave à manger specialising in minimal-intervention wines chosen by chef-owner Sam Winfield. European in both inspiration and flavour, it offers no wine list, just a blackboard that changes a few times daily. The approach in the kitchen is similarly relaxed – think pasta all’arrabiata, or a plate of white beans with braised rapini to match your glass of Sicilian Lamoresca Rosato.

What to order: A magnum of Cantina Giardino’s skin-contact T’ara rà Greco, best enjoyed out the front catching the late-afternoon Western Australian sun.

458 William St, Perth, (08) 9328 3332

Wines of While natural wine bar and restaurant in Perth WA

Wines of While, Perth.

(Photo: Lulu Cavanagh)

Young George

This loud, free-wheeling East Fremantle bar and kitchen is all about big-hitting drinks and flavours.

What to order: House charcuterie.

48 George St, East Fremantle, 0864249500


Cantina OK!

A standing-room only pocket of good times launched by the team from Tio’s, dedicated to agave-based spirits in all their glory.

What to order: The Margarita OK!

Council Pl, Sydney


This deli, bar and bistro trifecta hits the jackpot on all three fronts. Bonus points for the range of killer canned cocktails.

What to order: The Mar-tinny.

210 Australia St, Newtown, (02) 8624 3131

Dear Sainte Éloise

Cosy seating, two-bite wins like roe boats (potato nests with salmon roe) and natural wine to boot. Dear Sainte Eloise is the love letter that Sydney needs.

What to order: A $13 glass of mystery wine.

5/29 Orwell St, Potts Point, (02) 9326 9745

The Dolphin Hotel

Choose your own adventure: ponies of beer in the pub, idiosyncratic vino in the Wine Room, or futursitic cocktails at Scout upstairs.

What to order: It all depends on where you sit.

412 Crown St, Surry Hills, +61 2 9331 4800

Double Deuce Lounge

The Ramblin’ Rascals Tavern trio double down with a “porno-chic” basement bar sequel that revels in ’70s sleaze.

What to order: The Discretionary.

6 Bridge St, Sydney

Maybe Sammy

The roaring ’50s roar on at this Vegas-inspired boozer from the Maybe Frank squad.

What to order: The New Frontier.

115 Harrington St, The Rocks, (02) 9241 4970

A city-by-city guide to Australia’s best bars
15 Peel St, Adelaide

Related stories