Sydney's bottle-strokers have never had it so good. The city's new-wave wine bars wow with the grape, and in many cases also turn heads with their restaurant-quality food as well.
The recently refreshed menu at 10 William Street is a solid example. It offers some of the most exciting dishes we've seen in a wine bar for ages: smoked devilled eggs with bottarga, and sardines with smoked lardo, among others. The same can be said for the eats at Monopole, where Brent Savage's adventurous food and Nick Hildebrant's engaging, personal, 500-bottle list make for yet another win. (If you like Burgundy, you won't want to miss it, that's for sure.)
Back on the Italian side, Vini continues to shine, as do the killer bar snacks and sommelier Giorgio Di Maria's selection of natural and artisanal Italian wines at its neighbouring offshoot 121BC (Shop 4, 50 Holt St, Surry Hills, enter via Gladstone St, 02 9699 1582).
The all-day menu and relentlessly progressive pours at Woollahra's Wine Library (18 Oxford St, Woollahra, 02 9360 5686), the wine bar from the Buzo clan, make it a favourite with the wine folk, and tiny Love, Tilly Devine (91 Crown La, Darlinghurst, 02 9326 9297) also continues to charm with its cosy laneway digs and interesting picks from owner-sommelier Matt Swieboda. Stuart Knox's expertly curated list is a perfect match to the bold, gutsy fare at Fix St James, while nearby in the CBD, the wide-ranging list at De Vine (32 Market St, Sydney, 02 9262 6906) is a clear favourite with the wine-loving crowd.
The bar at Rockpool Bar & Grill sets the benchmark high for wine bars in the CBD. Its list is unquestionably one of the nation's finest and the bar food is among the top of its league. The expertise of the Merivale group's award-winning master sommelier (and former GT Sommelier of the Year), Franck Moreau, meanwhile, is apparent throughout a good bulk of the group's venues, but it's at Ash St Cellar (1 Ash St, Sydney, 02 9240 3000) and the bar at Felix where his work can be enjoyed best without delving into a full restaurant meal.
Over the bridge, Delicado (134 Blues Point Rd, McMahons Point, 02 9955 9399) is all about wine and snacks of the Spanish kind, while back towards the inner west, local favourite Timbah (Shop 1, 375 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe, 02 9571 7005) brings wine-bar magic to Glebe with plenty of cheer.
Looking for more Sydney dining options? Check out our list of the best restaurants in Sydney.