Wine bars in their prime
William St, Apothecary in Adelaide, Harry & Frankie in Melbourne and Must in Perth go from strength to strength while a new breed pushes the concept in ever more intriguing directions.
Beardy winemaker Taras Ochota has a hit on his hands with Lost in a Forest in the Adelaide Hills. The hugely respected Mark Protheroe (ex Grossi Florentino) is already doing great things at the brand new bar, bistro and bottle shop in Fitzroy North fittingly called The Recreation. And James Hird — no, not that one — has broken funky new ground with the autonomous and individualistic Wine Room within the heaving newly refurbished Dolphin Hotel in Sydney’s Surry Hills.
The trend of top sommeliers becoming wine bar proprietors has its epicentre in Melbourne, with some of the country’s finest hanging out the shingle in gritty inner-city locales. ExRockpool stalwart David Lawler, the man the wine trade calls Mr Integrity, has partnered with the equally savvy Tim Sacklin (ex-Rosetta) to open Comptoir in Collingwood, while Banjo Harris Plane has swapped the rarefied air of Attica for the spray-canned streets of Fitzroy and is doing extraordinary things at Bar Liberty.
Anticipated openings slated for this year include the crew from Sydney’s Ester opening a stand-alone bar, while Andrew Cibej, the brains behind groundbreaking Surry Hills establishments Mille Vini and 121 BC, is well advanced with plans for a vino-drenched trattoria in Sydney’s CBD.
Melbourne newcomer Comptoir in Collingwood