By Rosie Stevens
September 9, 2020 | 5 minute read
In case you missed it, Canberra is no longer the Questacon-centric city it was a decade ago. Our nation’s capital is positively brimming with culture, art, and an epic cafe, restaurant and wine bar scene to boot.
There are some pretty special places to sit back, watch the city go by and enjoy a few sips of the good stuff, so I've put together a list of the hottest wine bars in Canberra. Here’s where to head for a glass (or two) the next time you’re in town.
* At the time of writing, activities and places mentioned in this guide are at varying stages of recovery from COVID-19. Please check government and business websites for specific details on opening times and any restrictions before you travel.
Canberra suburbs don’t come much more trendy than New Acton—and Parlour Wine Room exemplifies the evolution of the area.
The art deco ambience is reminiscent of the historic nature of New Acton itself, and the Spanish share plates and boutique wines served at Parlour create an elegant destination for wining and din-ing. The wine list is extensive and the option to choose between a formal dinner menu or all-day tapas bar menu makes it a versatile choice depending on the occasion.
Location: 16 Kendall Lane, New Acton
Less a wine bar and more of a whisky and cocktail joint, I just couldn’t put together a list of Canberra’s best bars without including this Civic gem. At Hippo Co., they take their drinks seriously — each cocktail is handcrafted to perfection and every dram of whisky is the perfect pour. If it’s wine you’re after, you’ll find a small but curated selection with a decidedly Australian focus, including a few Canberran options. Our kinda wine list!
If it’s atmosphere and live music you’re looking for, you won’t be disappointed here. The bar runs a blues night every Monday and a jazz night every Wednesday, showcasing some of the hottest talent in Australia.
Location: 1/17 Garema Place, Civic
Monster Kitchen & Bar
Another great spot in New Acton, you’d never realise you were sat in a hotel foyer at Monster. A popular all-day destination for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Monster feels artsy, cultured and ‘cool’, without feeling pretentious. The wine list is as eclectic as the clientele—it would appear that Monster is simply one of those spots that appeals to all ages—offering a fantastic amount of local and Australian wines, alongside a host of European options.
If you want our pick—a bottle of Eden Road’s Tumbarumba Chardon-nay always hits the spot, or if you’re after a decadent red, the Lark Hill Sangiovese makes a deliciously welcome change from the norm.
Location: 25 Edinburgh Ave, New Acton
While we’re on the subject of bar’s located in hotels, it would be remiss of us not to mention The Library Bar. Nestled in the trendy Peppers Gallery Hotel in New Acton is an enviably intimate bar that offers excellent cocktails, beers and wines, surrounded by books from the library (which of course, you’re welcome to get stuck into), as well as one of Canberra’s best pizza parlours—Bicicletta—next door.
Location: 15 Edinburgh Avenue, New Acton
So hipster it hurts, Molly is Canberra’s truest iteration of a speakeasy bar—if you can find it, of course. The website offers little more than some coordinates, so you might have to put your map-reading skills to the test to get in here. It’s well worth it though—there’s a cheese and charcuterie station, live jazz music during the week, whisky tastings and cocktail lessons, plus a drinks menu that’s as quirky and interesting as the location.
Location: 35°16'44.5"S 149°07’42.0"E (we weren’t kidding)
Known for its epic brunches, laid back vibe and always-on-point ONA coffee, you might not know that High Road is also an effortlessly trendy bar come Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. The small food menu serves up some delectable bar snacks and share plates (try the crumbed haloumi with Harissa mayo and thank us later), alongside gorgeous drops of wine in an effortlessly enjoyable atmosphere. It turns out that Dickson offers way more than just noodle houses after all!
Location: Cnr Cape & Woolley St, Dickson
Vincent is a quirky concept restaurant, nestled in amongst government buildings in the beautiful leafy suburb of Barton. While we can't recommend the a la carte menu enough (the pumpkin, pear and goats cheese gnocchi gets us every time), there’s also a straight-forward snack menu to keep you sustained through a glass or three of Vincent’s stunning wine selection.
Showcasing unconventional, specifically sourced wines from around the world, the wine list at Vin-cent is the true hero of the restaurant, making it a must-visit mainstay of the Canberra wine scene.
Location: Corner of Macquarie Street & Broughton Street, Barton
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