Have the shelves and fridges been this crowded before? The knowledge on the floor as sharp? The fit-outs as sleek? The extras as quirky and thoughtfully considered? Simply put, there’s never been a better time to shop for drinks this side of the Nullarbor and the bottle-os in the Wildflower State, both new and old, stand firmly among Australia’s finest. These are our picks of the bunch.
You might not expect to see hoppy ales from New Zealand’s Garage Project at the West Busselton Shopping Centre, but you certainly will at this acclaimed independent retailer, now sailing into its third decade. Familiar giants, local brews and limited releases from further afield round out the fridges, while the wine line-up featuring the likes of Vasse Felix and Leeuwin Estate is just as smart. Pro tip: nearby sibling Dunsborough Cellars is a similarly safe bet.
Address: 170 Bussell Highway, West Busselton
Cellarbrations at Carlisle
Friday afternoon is the best time to swing past this almighty stronghold of craft brewing, where free tastings go down between 3-6pm. Think Eagle Bay Brewing Co beers and bottled cocktails by Idle Hands Drinks Co one week, and Rocky Ridge tinnies alongside Fervor wines the next. No matter when you pop by, however, the almost absurdly vast catalogue of beers – spanning roughly 1,000 SKUs and full of rarities – should keep you occupied.
Address: 2 Wright Street, Kewdale
Commune Wine Store
Commune has been flying the flag for all things lo-fi since 2020, fast establishing itself as an inner-city fixture in the time since. Co-owners Peter Baker, Chris Ford and Paul Heatley champion small, often family-run vineyards across the globe and look beyond the obvious, with drops from Slovenia, Georgia, Greece and Japan in regular rotation and next-gen makers from the Swan Valley and Great Southern also on hand. Keep your eyes locked on the calendar of masterclasses, too.
Address: 209 Railway Parade, Maylands
Copper & Oak Liquor Merchants – Guildford
The newly minted Guildford offshoot of this esteemed operation is a ripper, with more than 50 years of customer service experience behind it. There’s a fitting spotlight on Swan Valley growers and makers, as well as a hefty aggregate of South African wines, nodding to co-owners Jose and Nelio Pestana’s ancestry. The 400-strong whisky supply has been compiled with equally serious intent, but empty oak barrels are available if you prefer maturing your own hooch.
Address: 124 Swan Street, Guildford
Grand Cru Wineshop & Cellar
WA’s oldest family-owned wine emporium dates back to 1974, and while Grand Cru’s empire now encompasses three locations, the Mount Lawley flagship remains its beating heart. In large part, that’s due to the purpose-built underground cellar – the largest of its kind in Perth – stacked from floor to ceiling with precious cargo and perfectly set up for ticketed tastings. Ever wanted to work through side-by-sides of Henschke and Penfolds? This is the place to do it.
Address: 654 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley
If you’re searching for something left-of-centre, chances are you’ll spot it at Mane’s 600-square-metre Osborne Park outpost, which turns the traditional bottle shop dial up well past 11. A hot sauce, say, from a collection spanning some 200 bottles? Perhaps a Californian peanut-butter milk stout in amongst the encyclopaedic range of beers? Tick and tick. Plan to make a day of it – the commercial kitchen out back plays host to cracking collabs and food pop-ups on weekends.
Address: 237 Great Eastern Hwy, Belmont
Address: 3/392 Scarborough Beach Road, Osborne Park
Margaret River Liquor Merchants
Cellar door visits are all well and good, but there’s a certain thrill that comes with seeing a region’s bounty sprawled out under the same roof. And so it is at Margaret River Liquor Merchants, which was the only dedicated bottle-o in town when it separated from the legendary Settlers Tavern in 1994. Expect upwards of 750 labels from names big and small and an especially hefty array of local chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon, of course.
Address: 110 Bussell Highway, Margaret River
Old Bridge Cellars – North Fremantle
There’s lots to like about this North Freo institution (and the newer Como store), be it the high calibre of service, well-priced house wines, brewery of the month specials or customised packs for occasions like a ‘Chardy Party’ or a ‘Girls’ Night In’. It’s also home to the Wine Education Centre – the educational arm of Wines of Western Australia – which offers a four-week crash course in the fundamentals of sensory analysis, production and food pairing.
Address: 221 Queen Victoria Street, North Fremantle
The Re Store – Leederville
Combing through the sea of shelves in the subterranean cellar with one of the city’s best conti rolls in hand is exactly what makes the Leederville branch of this Perth icon such a winner. You’ll find baller Champagne and blockbusters from Burgundy and Bordeaux along with Australian benchmarks here, but really it’s all about the Italian gear – diligently sourced from all corners of the boot, mined with mainstream players, obscurities, bargains, back vintages and amaro to finish.
Address: 231 Oxford Street, Leederville
Tomorrow on Tap
Accomplished sommelier Rachael Niall opened this exclusively NOLO (that’s no- and low-alcohol) outfit early in 2023, with the aim of showing people that booze-free alternatives “can offer a sense of occasion.” The beautifully kitted-out space does exactly that with 140-ish beers, spirits, wines, teas, tinctures, kombuchas and cocktails vying for your attention, as well as emerging nootropic, adaptogenic and house-made drinks on tap. Lingering is also encouraged, thanks to a communal tasting table and dog-friendly policy.
Address: 223 Bulwer Street, Perth
The Wine Thief
Don’t let the name fool you – while the staggering wine selection may be The Wine Thief’s calling card, there’s much more to it than that. Take the 250-odd stockpile of gins, for instance, encompassing everything from classic London Dry styles to small-batch bottlings distilled with yuzu, Christmas cake or even cannabis-sativa. And how about that handsomely appointed whisky library with its backlit wall of 100ml tasting tubes? Simply put, it’s the platonic ideal of the one-stop neighbourhood shop.
Address: 69 McCourt Street, West Leederville
Wise Child Wine Store
Unfined, unfiltered, naturally fermented and mindfully farmed wines are the drawcard at this pared-back Freo bolthole run by Lucy Byrnes and James Whineray. Cult European labels are well represented, but homegrown heroes are the focus, with new-wave makers like Momento Mori and L.A.S. Vino jostling for space with long-established pioneers such as Sorrenfberg and Cullen. Ace snacks and sundries add interest around the edges, as does the suite of affordable monthly subscriptions.
Address: 21a Market Street, Fremantle