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 280 (20 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($9.50-$15 by the glass)

Rest assured, Upstairs, Lord Nelson is not your average pub, which probably explains why it has beaten all comers once again to grab the Best Pub Restaurant List award, the second year running.

Foremost, it’s a brewery turning out some pretty smart ales, lagers and bitters, including the excellent, best-selling Three Sheets Pale Ale. Wine is not a logical extension for many pubs, but here it rises to a serious art form, starting with a rollicking selection of wines by the glass from across the country and beyond.

Many demand your attention like a Neudorf Sauvignon Blanc or Dalrymple Pinot Noir, others such as a carignan blend from Sardinia will feed the curious. And just as some of our top restaurants offer tastings by Coravin so, too, does Upstairs, Lord Nelson.

Australian wines have the biggest share of the 280-strong list, where individualists rule.

Dotted throughout are the aromatic, the savoury, icons, excellent vintages, great regions and those up-and-coming. The Italians, however, hold the emotional edge, the perfect pairing with many dishes on the mod Oz menu. Jeni Port


Paddington Inn

338 Oxford St, Paddington
(02) 9380 5913

CUISINE Modern Australian
WINEs ON LIST 50 (27 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($11-$40 by the glass)

This is a first-rate small wine list and strong example of curated vision from leading sommelier Matt Dunne. Begin with an aperitivo spritz or select from a sizeable collection of sake and artisan local gin followed by natural whites, frolicking rose and reds that swing both ways. Pure joy. 

Crafers Hotel

8 Main St, Crafers, Adelaide Hills
(08) 8339 2050

CUISINE French Bistro
WINE LIST Liinaa Jaumdally
WINEs ON LIST 450 (40 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($6.50-$20 by the glass)

There is much vinous fun to be had at the newly renovated Crafers Hotel, especially when there's a spirited sommelier like Liinaa Jaumdally behind the extensive 'un-pub like' wine list.  You'll find gems from around the world, some with great cut and clarity, a few rough diamonds and others with a rustic sparkle.  The list is a plethora of twists and turns, with entries arranged by variety and then by price, which means that there are wines vastly different in style sitting side-by-side which could make it a little tricky to choose unless your wine knowledge is encyclopedic. Though it is impressive and there is much to love.  The spread of vintages is wide; some are sure bets, though with others you will need to take a punt.  All in all, it is a daring international jumble of the hip, the local, the weird, the classic and the composed.   There are additional hidden gems in the wine room plus a highly affordable and vast selection by the glass.  Enjoy the ride.

CHAIRMAN'S COMMENTS: The evolving and ever-vibrant scene has benefitted from newcomers such as the Paddington Inn (11 beers on tap, bright, vibrant choice by the glass from home and abroad) and Crafers Hotel (comprehensive list, impressive by the glass).