Melbourne tips from Mike Bennie

Your must-visit café for the best coffee?
Pope Joan in Brunswick East. Hey, it's a well beaten path, but the comfort factor is ballistically high and coffee good. St ALi a close second.
 
Favourite place to enjoy a glass of wine on a warm Melbourne evening?
The footpath out the front of the City Wine Shop is my go-to for outdoor Melbourne wine activities. Great crew there, super spot, no frills and awesome wine range. Gerald's Bar in North Carlton for when the sun suddenly disappears and the grey fog descends - Melbourne's vortex venue for wine and beverage enthusiasts.
 
Favourite restaurant for a memorable and ‘Melbourne’ dining experience?
France Soir is as comfortable as your lounge room, the wine cellar cavernous, food fit for purpose. Memorable for repeat offence dining with friends who live locally, and subsequent convivial times.
 
Where do you meet friends for a quick bite?
Got to do the Gertrude Street-Smith Street Bermuda triangle. Gertrude Street Enoteca for wicked libations and snacks, Ladro for pizza and Huxtaburger for a can and a burger.
 
Where do you go for great pub grub?
The Napier Hotel in Fitzroy.
Views of the housing commission for days, great beers inside and some lounging space on the footpath for good measure. Proper wash-down pub.
 
Picking up a bottle for BYO, your go-to bottle shop when you’re in town?
There are at least two places I dive into. Notably, City Wine Shop has helped me out on many occasions – they curate a cracking list of wines, from full-blown bottle stroking rarities to empiric classics. Also the Prince Wine Store – impressive for range and depth of wine, superior knowledge and treasure trove feel.
 
You have one day to discover Melbourne. Where do you go? What do you eat and drink?
Hire a car, visit Loam for lunch in Drysdale, then put pedal to metal and make dinner at the Royal Mail Hotel. Game changing restaurants where provenance of produce, locavore culture and artisan wine offerings, are at their core.

Mike Bennie is presenting at Acqua Panna Global Wine Experience.