5 Best Wine Bars to Pick Up a Book
5 Best Wine Bars to Pick Up a Book

If you, like me, enjoy a Chablis with your Shakespeare, a Grenache with your Grisham or a Riesling with your Rowling, then listen up. There are places in this wonderful country where you can drink wine and read books.

Look, I’m not going to lie. When I ignore your text messages on a Friday night, I’m probably at home reading a great book, snuggled up on the couch with a delicious bottle of Australian pinot. It’s one of my favourite things to do. So why not make it one of my favourite things to do out in the real world?

If you, like me, enjoy a Chablis with your Shakespeare, a Grenache with your Grisham or a Riesling with your Rowling, then listen up, because I am your fairy godmother. There are places in this wonderful country where you can drink wine and read books. And with impressive wine lists and an ever-changing selection of reads, there’s every reason to make them your new local.

Muse - Canberra

Nestled in the stylish East Hotel in Kingston, Muse serves food and drink from dawn until well into the night, with a selection of new and second-hand books for sale throughout. I love the fact that their wine list is entirely Australian and includes a generous selection by the glass, as well as pages and pages by the bottle. The short but sweet cocktail list and small batch beers round out the offering. And with menus that range from breakfast through to dinner, you’ll find yourself coming back at all hours of the day. Their busy calendar of events features talks by writers, winemakers, and politicians (it is Canberra, after all), as well as a regular live jazz night on Fridays.

Photo from Muse Canberra

The Berkelouw -Sydney

The Berkelouw has become an institution since opening in 1994. The three storeys are stocked to the brim with a range of new, rare and second-hand books and the bustling café/wine bar, Café 1812, sits grandly on the top floor and welcomes people who like to order slowly and read fast. I come in for coffee and a muffin in the morning and a vino and cheese plate at night (or, let’s not lie: anytime after midday). The largely Italian wine list also features a few choices from Bendooley in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. Come for a book, stay for the wine. Or come for the wine, stay for the book, I guess. It’s up to you.

Photography by Sophie Roberts for Broadsheet

Willow’s & Wine, Melbourne

I love this new wine bar in West Melbourne for its international list without the pretence. The rotating roster of German rieslings, Italian proseccos, and Australian pinots are highlighted on the chalkboard menu alongside antipasto boards that overflow with local produce, which means I can read and graze and sip to my heart’s content. Floor-to-ceiling bookcases contain second-hand books to flick through as you drink, and purchase if you’re captivated. Original brickwork and pared-back interiors ensure I can impress my coolest friends or come alone for some catching up with R.R. Martin (yes, I still haven’t read them – don’t judge). Trust Melbourne to get it.

Photography by Tiffany Couborough for Broadsheet

The Bibliotheca Bar & Book Exchange - Adelaide

While small batch spirits are the name of the game here, I still come for the wine list. I also come here when I want to pretend I’m British and own a manor with a library. Or a Broadway actor looking for a drink after a show. It kind of works for both… So whether you’re after a Spanish tempranillo or an Adelaide Hills gewurtztraminer, pull up a comfy chair and sink into a new story. The catch here is that you can’t buy a book, you have to swap it, so don’t come empty handed.

Photography by Daniel Purvis for Broadsheet

Sappho Books, Café & Bar - Sydney

When I’m looking for a second-hand book or an Argentinian Malbec, I go to Sappho. Also home to Da Capo, a bookshop entirely devoted to music, Sappho’s beautiful courtyard café transforms into a bar at night. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try, but it’s not really the place to come for a quiet read by the fire. However, if you like your literature with a side of slam poetry, you’re in for a treat.

Photos from Sappho Books, Café & Bar

Now that we've got all your away from home wine and reading needs sorted, it's time that we paired some bottles for your at home sipping pleasure. Start with our fun seven question palate profile quiz here and we'll recommend three bottles for your personal tastes!

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