They’ve been showing up at dinner parties, and appearing on restaurant wine lists. You might have even pondered a pet-nat at your local wine store. So, what’s with all the hype, and – most importantly – where can I go for a good glass (and a good vibe go with it)?
For the Sydneysiders asking these crucial questions, we’ve put together a round-up of Sydney’s best natural wine bars serving natural, organic, biodynamic wine.
91 Crown Ln, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
The lovechild of Sydney food scene heroes Tim Webber (previously chef at Sean’s Panorama) and sommelier Matt Swieboda (previously sommelier at Sydney’s iconic Quay), Love, Tilly Devine has long established its position among Sydney’s best natural wine bars The speakeasy basement setting sets the intimate tone, which is matched by the rough timber interiors and small, low-lit tables.
The 100-strong wine list changes frequently, as does the European inspired menu (which features everything from hearty bowls of gnocchi to rock oysters on ice).
236 Marrickville Rd, Marrickville NSW 2204
Voted Sydney’s best wine bar in 2019, Where’s Nick is the playful but perfectly executed project brought to Sydney’s Inner West by sibling duo Dominic and Julian Abouzeid (former buyer for acclaimed wine store, The Oak Barrel).
While the name of this Marrickville bar is lighthearted (a reference to the owners’ brother Nick’s lack of involvement in the business), the aim of Where’s Nick is to educate: to make natural wine accessible and easy to enjoy. The 150 strong wine list is curated by sommelier Bridget Raffal, with a focus on supporting small, sustainable Australian winemakers. On their mission to educate the people of Sydney about the world of natural wine, the Where’s Nick team are opening a fine wine store in the building next door in April 2021.
As well as offering a range of biodynamic, natural and organic wine from across the globe, the Where’s Nick offshoot store will play host to a series of wine education events and cult film screenings in the recently renovated upstairs space.
268 Oxford Street, Paddington
When they opened their first store in Newtown in 2017, the team behind P&V Wine Merchants were ahead of the curve – bringing a vast and varied range of natural, organic, sustainably made and biodynamic wine to Sydney’s wine lovers before they knew they needed it. P&V quickly became an icon among Sydney’s best natural wine bars.
In February of 2021, the co-founders of the Newtown establishment (Lou Dowling and Mike Bennie) announced that they were opening their second store: a two story space in the heart of Paddington, this time incorporating an event space, courtyard and bar serving wine by the glass and suitably Inner West inspired foodie options (think vegan ploughmans and eel pate). Reflecting the P&V passion for natural wine, the wine list rotates frequently, with by-the-glass options changing according to the (very discerning) sommelier’s taste.
While the ground floor of P&V Paddington is dedicated to retail and entertainment, the upper story is more of an educational space (still wine-focused, naturally). From Monday through Wednesday, the second floor of 268 Oxford Street plays host to P&V’s popular masterclasses – wine tastings and workshops with experts in the field. From Thursday to Sunday, the upstairs space becomes a pop up restaurant by the name of Porcine: serving French-inspired cuisine such as garlic mussels on toast (and a range of natural, organic, biodynamic wine… of course).
180 Redfern St, Redfern NSW 2016
Since opening in September 2020, The Sunshine Inn has rapidly established its name as a go-to for foodies and natural wine lovers alike. The second venue from the team behind Leichhardt’s The Golden Gully, The Sunshine Inn focuses on serving high quality Australian drinks and seasonal, Italian-inspired food in a laid-back but undeniably sexy setting.
The wine list places a heavy focus on natural and organic wines, and (depending on the day) if you ask for the sommelier’s favourite, they’ll serve you a Wild Ride Verdelho: a skin contact wine with warm apricot undertones. Go for the wine list, stay for the excellent energy (and $10 Tuesday night pasta).
191-195 Oxford St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
The latest evolution of the much adored Sydney dance hub (the Chippendale bar Freda’s), Cafe Freda’s makes nods to its playful past through groovy branding and suitably stylish staff, but the format is more mature than its previous incarnation.
Rather than focusing on its entertainment offering, Cafe Freda’s is a gastronomic destination: with the main draws of the Darlinghurst eatery being the contemporary fusion menu and the extensive natural wine list. Curated by Darcy Creenaune Ellis (who previously worked at Sydney CBD’s Restaurant Leo), the wine list includes a sparkling pet nat from Ari’s Natural Wine Co and six varieties of skin contact orange wine.
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