Sara Underdown

Sydney-based Sara Underdown lives the champagne lifestyle. In 2018, the WSET advanced qualified journalist and multiple finalist in the prestigious Vin de Champagne award established Vine & Bubble, Australia’s only magazine dedicated to the world’s favourite sparkling wine. From grower champagnes to prestige cuvees, high-end restaurants to easy-going wine bars, Underdown’s hit-list is the definitive guide on where to sip champagne in Australia’s most populous city.

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My All-time Favourite

I cannot go past the attention to detail at Bennelong, located inside Sydney’s iconic Opera House. The restaurant’s expansive windows, that overlook the thoroughfare of the harbour, bring a sense of theatre to the room. Bennelong’s à la carte menu is also very good and one of the best I’ve experienced and has a flair for Aussie produce. For champagne lovers, the wine list offers a nice mix of house and grower champagne including some hard-to-find vintage and prestige cuvées.

We Came for the Champagne

If you’re looking for champagne diversity, head to one of the Merivale Group restaurants. Est (fine dining) or Felix (French brasserie) boast four pages dedicated to champagne, helpfully categorised by village. Explore everything from Bérèche, in the north, to Marie-Courtin, in the far south, and everything in between.

Bambini Trust on Elizabeth Street holds some lovely memories for me but it’s also a gorgeous place to sip champagne. I had my first photoshoot for Vine & Bubble magazine there with Champagne Bollinger. Its refined, European flair makes you feel as though you could be in Paris. I love the intimacy of its decadent yet brooding rooms: perfect for a late-night supper and champagne.

When Industry Friends Come To Visit

It’s no secret that Quay, Aria, Monopole and Bentley are some of the best, most awarded places for food and wine in Sydney. Each has a good champagne list too.  

Where You’ll Find Me on the Weekends

Café Sydney is a bit of an institution. It boasts some of the best views in the city, has excellent food and attentive staff, and a solid champagne list comprising houses and growers ranging from Perrier-Jouët and Louis Roederer to Frederic Savart and Vouette and Sorbée. I love its energetic atmosphere. It’s a great place to have fun and fine food.

Hang With the Locals

Dear Saint Eloise at Potts Point is where wine-loving locals having an after-work drink. There are more than 400 wines on the list including a page dedicated exclusively to grower champagne. You’re bound to find something great.

For Champagne Aficionados

The Sofitel Champagne Bar, at Darling Harbour, is doing some unconventional things that I think have sparked an interest in wine lovers as well as hotel operators. When it opened around two years ago, the intention was to celebrate major champagne brands as well as highlight smaller, more intimate wineries. The bar is invested in giving customers a champagne journey and provides intimate masterclasses and education sessions: an uncommon move for a large hotel. The list has more 100 champagnes by the bottle and continues to grow.

Guide last updated August 2019

Our guides are fact-checked and updated every three months. Read more here.

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