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The Best Wine Bars In Canberra

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Few things in life can top a glass of fine wine. Complex, unique, indulgent, and simply delicious, a good wine truly is a taste sensation.

One of the best ways to sample a range of wines is by visiting a wine bar. These bars specialise in fine wine, offering up a diverse, ever-changing collection of both local and international wine. Some serve up starters and meals alongside their drinks, and others keep it simple. Either way, when you discover an incredible wine bar, you’ll find yourself coming back again and again.

If you are looking to sample a range of wines in the Canberra region, you’ve come to the right place. We asked Canberra locals to share their favourite wine bars, and the results are in.

Let’s get started right away.

What makes an excellent wine bar?

So much goes into making a fantastic wine bar. On your hunt, we suggest keeping a sharp eye out for the following traits:

  • An exciting range of wines. You head to a wine bar to sample the finest wines on the market, right? So, the very first thing to keep a lookout for is the wine menu. It should be diverse and exciting, containing a mix of local, national, and international labels.
  • Staff with expertise. If you’d like to learn more about the wine you are drinking, the bar staff should be able to help. They should have the expertise needed to answer any of your questions.
  • Lively atmosphere. The atmosphere is essential. No one wants to enjoy a glass of wine in a quiet, empty bar.
  • Great food. If they serve food, it better be good.

The top wine bars in Canberra according to you

RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 19 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.

Without further ado, here are the top wine bars in Canberra according to the region’s local residents.

Hippo Co.

Tucked away in the heart of Canberra is Hippo Co., a boutique whiskey, wine, and cocktail bar that serves up some of the finest drinks in the region. The atmosphere is both classy and cosy, with exposed brick walls and warm, dim lighting. Live blues music on Monday and jazz on Wednesday add to the cool yet sophisticated vibe. Sit back, enjoy a glass of top-quality vino, and indulge in a little banter. Or, get a group of friends together and get behind the bar yourself with the Hippo Co. Cocktail Masterclass. How good is that?

Bacaro

What’s better than a glass of wine? A glass of wine and a fresh, wood-fired pizza. Bacaro is an authentically Italian pizza and wine bar accessed through an unsuspecting laneway. Grab a seat at the chic marble bar, or kick-back and relax on a low-slung stool. Enjoy a pizza or generous bowl of fresh-made pasta or indulge in other delicacies. Choose from a mouth-watering selection of antipasti, including cheese boards and house-made salumi.

Bar Rochford

Hidden in the iconic Melbourne Building is Bar Rochford, a local hotspot known for its stellar food, exciting wines, and killer jams. The interior is classic and minimalist, combining raw materials with fine leathers. Both the food and wine menu change regularly – the team behind Bar Rochford is passionate about using in-season produce to develop unique culinary creations. One visit certainly isn’t enough.

Who did you pick?

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback, if you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Have you visited any of the wine bars listed above? How was your experience? Share your thoughts and feedback in the comments area below.


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142 Responses to The Best Wine Bars In Canberra
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ant 10:10 am 02 Jan 09

Some old names there, I didn’t much like most of them, have to say. I went to the Wig and Pen when it was Peppers! I was such a regular, I once paid for a shout with a cheque…

Terminus andThe Shanty always seemed similar, for some reason.

The old Canberra Inn was a nice place to go. And who remember the bar at Natex, in Building B? We’d play indoor hockey out there in B and F, and then rehydrate at Ron’s bar.

I never went to The Hungry Horse but the name still makes me giggle, as a drinking buddy, after a nigth out in Belco with us, decided she needed food before heading home and so went there. We heard the next day that she got a tad rowdy, cops came, and she dealt with four of them before being persuaded to accompany them to the station.

farnarkler 10:09 am 02 Jan 09

As we’re going through the archives, does anyone remember the name of what was a quite classy nightclub next to Antigo’s around from Baileys arcade? It’s still a club now but back in the early 90’s it was lovely and airconditioned and had a nice crowd. Damned if I can remember the name though!!

BerraBoy68 9:56 am 02 Jan 09

poptop said :

BerraBoy68 said :

There was a also a basement type pub near the Plaza that we used to go (i’m talking ’84-’85 but its name escapes me…

That would be The Shanty at the base of what was then the MLC Tower [now Lovatt Tower]; renowned for it’s chips and gravy and the sight of vampire like drinkers, emerging from the subterranean gloom and cowering at unexpected daylight.

One of the low rise lifts in the tower went to the basement allowing covert pub access to the office workers . . . Good times.

The Shanty!!! Thanks Poptop, that was really bugging me.

poptop 9:45 am 02 Jan 09

BerraBoy68 said :

There was a also a basement type pub near the Plaza that we used to go (i’m talking ’84-’85 but its name escapes me…

That would be The Shanty at the base of what was then the MLC Tower [now Lovatt Tower]; renowned for it’s chips and gravy and the sight of vampire like drinkers, emerging from the subterranean gloom and cowering at unexpected daylight.

One of the low rise lifts in the tower went to the basement allowing covert pub access to the office workers . . . Good times.

BerraBoy68 9:18 am 02 Jan 09

Thumper said :

I remember gigging at Kambah tavern.

man that was scary…

Sorry for teh double post but… I live 200 meters up the road from the Kambah Tavern (the Boddington side, not Marconi) and have never been in there, but would like to, just to say I have. Can anybody tell me what to expect?

Scariest job I ever had in Pubs was as the DJ/security for a group of female strippers. Top pay but unhealthy. We used to work at Fyshwick Tavern, Mitchell Tavern and Jamison Inn. Working at Jamo was by far the scariest experience I’ve ever had. Telling bikers to keep the hands of the girls, return clothing that gets tossed around etc. does not make for healthy living. I worked behind the bar in a couple of pubs in the East End of London in the late 80’s and that was infinitely safer and more fun with great characters and a few famous faces regularly turning up.

BerraBoy68 9:09 am 02 Jan 09

Thumper said :

The Hungry Horse. Now you’re speaking pure uadulterated boganese 😉

How true Thumper! I used to duck in here for a slice of pizza on the way home after a big night out (I used to describe it as a milk bar with a pub out the back). Stopped going in there when a girl I know and her boyfriend got the crap beaten out of them by the local ferels. They did nothing wrong other than walk into the wrong place at the wrong time.

The Boardroom at the Churches Ctr in Belco used to be a good lunchtime haunt as did the Terminus at Civic which used to have the best chicken Schnitzel in town at one point and the drinks were cheap. Only drawback was no natural light. And if we’re playing Dr Who, what about The Troubadour and Elbow Room in Phillip (is the latter one still open?). There was a also a basement type pub near the Plaza that we used to go (i’m talking ’84-’85 but its name escapes me…

As an older and wiser family man now I rarely go out to bars, and stick mainly to Clubs with kids play areas.

farnarkler 8:46 am 02 Jan 09

Hehehehhe classy establishment. There’d be blokes belting each other while the little old lady was making pizza.

Thumper 8:19 am 02 Jan 09

The Hungry Horse. Now you’re speaking pure uadulterated boganese 😉

farnarkler 6:53 am 02 Jan 09

Ant and Thumper you forgot the Hungry Horse in that group of hideous Belco post Labor club boozers.

All Bar Nun really is a waste of space. As for Mooseheads, it must be a condition of entry that one has a double digit IQ. King O’Malleys is a laugh. I visit Canberra annually and I know that I’ll always bump into an old Bobby McGees/Labor Club drinking colleague who is within a year of two of hitting 40 and still hasn’t grown up.

Wig and Pen is great for beer however THE regular drinker caused some trouble which left a bad taste so I give the place a miss.

realityskin 11:12 am 10 Oct 08

Ok, What about a place, fairly nice, to drink on a Saturday afternoon, preferably with some live music. Or am i kidding myself ?

Pandy 5:09 pm 30 Apr 08

RuffandReady, I am. But he now runs another place in Woden part-time.

ndnl 3:14 pm 30 Apr 08

CanberraResident said :

Genie said :

I’m a cocktail girl – So if anyone wants to mention where the best VALUE for money cocktails are – i’d like to know.

julep lounge manuka, best cocktails in canberra. they have happy hour til 8pm where all cocktails are $10!! regular prices are around $13/$14, same prices as most other cocktails around canberra but I reckon their quality’s awesome. so in terms of value, they’re probably the best guys for quality and price. awesome vibe in their too friday and saturdays, really funky music. great crowd – no “kiddies” up there 🙂

too many other bars to mention around the berra for beers and wine, filthy’s great for a beer, debacle too.

grunge_hippy 4:03 pm 22 Apr 08

woo! First post!

has motherhood and old age been that unkind that I don’t know many of these places??

back in the day, when it was cool to binge drink, pandoras and knights were the bar/s du jour. As I got older, I prefered filthy’s… hasnt changed a bit! never was one for mooseheads, and its sounds like it hasnt changed.

on the odd occasion that I get a leave pass, I dont mind king o’malleys in civic… i’ve never been one to go to wannabe yuppie places. had enough of that living in melbourne!

RuffnReady 1:07 pm 19 Apr 08

Pandy – are you serious? I thought Dennis moved up to Gosford to run a car yard or something? If you are serious, I’ll drop by there and say hi, because we always got along really well.

Kieran – thanks for the lowdown on the cheap eats.

Kieran Bennett 12:03 pm 19 Apr 08

God I miss SouthPac. And Toast. I’m a bit lost without them.

Pheonix, Muddle, Moose if you wanna get stabbed. The Grill at Uni Pub, $5 snittys on a Tuesday, $5 steaks on a monday, $5 pizzas on a wednesday. $7 steaks every other day of the week. Can’t go wrong. The pool room is like a classy version of civic pub.

necrocelia 11:30 am 19 Apr 08

the Rugby Union Club (RUC) in Barton!! 7 dollar jugs from 3-5pm, $2.50 spirits from 9-10pm and the best one- FREE schooners of Coopers Pale Ale in any Brumbies game from when the ref blows the whistle til the first point is scored… good tapas too.

Timberwolf65 7:50 am 19 Apr 08

Bludger said :

Timberwolf are you talking about the old Clancy’s in Watson at the old Heritage Village? Gee I loved that place…

Indeed I am talking of The old Clancy’s, remember Canberry Fair?

justbands said :

Matildas! Now there’s a bast from the past. I spent many an underaged night drinking there.

I had my 18th birthday at Matilda’s…sigh!!!

Why do they have to close all the good places, those were the days when you had the occasional puff on a joint with a beer, you could smoke inside, the fights were with fists not with knives, They had Def Leppard on the duke box……oh how I reminisce:)

mirage3 11:21 pm 18 Apr 08

……and the wello

mirage3 11:17 pm 18 Apr 08

Captain Greggs, Boot and Flogger, Blind Beggars…..

Keerist, I’ve been perusin’ this here site for a while, but I didn’t think this was the place for old buggers to bore the yunguns with our reminiss’n. What about the Trav, Captain Cook (Pythagoras’ Disco), Lakeside (Settlers & Bavarian), Jack Stones and the Down Under. Goodnight all

Pandy 5:46 pm 18 Apr 08

Dennis and Nick now run Coffferes at Treasury.

Lots of underage drinking there too

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