Best Pub Restaurant List

Upstairs, Lord Nelson

Upstairs, Lord Nelson

19 Kent St, The Rocks
(02) 9251 4044

CUISINEModern Australian
WINE LIST Blair Hayden & Kristian Savio
WINEs ON LIST 250 (14 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$$ ($12-$8 by the glass)

Upstairs is in Sydney’s oldest continually licensed hotel, The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel at the Rocks. With a microbrewery onsite, the beer list features six in-house brews on tap, and bottled options gently suggest getting out of the comfort zone. The wine selection is equally engaging, offering everything from vintage and non-vintage Champagne to boutique producers. There’s organic riesling, Slovakian riesling, Vouvray (chenin blanc) from 1986, magnums, half bottles, Grange and aged Barolo. It’s a country mile ahead of the standard pub wine list.

This must be Australia’s only restaurant/bar featuring a Rockford Sparkling Shiraz spotlight. It’s so Aussie that it’s edgy. Some wines that are extremely limited are featured including the highly recommended Walsh & Sons Semillon Chardonnay from Margaret River: less than one pallet is made and each vintage sells out almost immediately. This is an interesting, alternative list with everything from white Rhône blends to natural wines and plenty of great international and domestic wines dotted throughout. Upstairs is challenging our notion of a simple drink at the pub. Erin Larkin


The Deck Bar & Bistro, Flinders Hotel

Wood & Cook Sts, Flinders
(03) 5989 0201

CUISINE Modern Australian
WINE LISTRaúl Moreno Yagüe
WINEs ON LIST 135 (16 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($14-$8 by the glass)

The Flinders Hotel on the Mornington Peninsula would be a most apt place to spend a few hours working your way through wines served by the glass and sourced from the surrounding region. This list shines with some of the better producers, with chardonnay and pinot noir dominating. Or maybe you fancy a cellared wine from further afield, an Austrian muskat, a five-year-old Oregon pinot or well-priced, aged red Burgundy? Reasonable prices will make the wine lover's day.


1/52 King St, Sydney
(02) 9240 3000

CUISINE European
WINE LIST Greg Burley & Franck Moreau
WINEs ON LIST 140 (17 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$$ ($29-$10 by the glass)

Something for everyone in this neat and tidy list, where prices are accessible and wines are arranged by variety.  Quality Australian wines are the main feature; though France also features strongly.  There’s a beautiful selection of cool climate whites and plenty of joy in the pinot noir and shiraz categories.