The revitalisation of Hindley Street’s western end over the past few years, triggered by the Royal Adelaide Hospital and University of South Australia upgrades, has attracted a new wave of restaurants and cafes to the once gritty strip. But one thing has been missing: a wine bar.

Stem co-owners Tom Paxton and Lachlan Farmer have teamed up with designer Stephen Roy, illustrator Cécile Gariépy and longstanding Udaberri bartender Alex Glastonbury to open Nearly, a cosy wine bar focusing on local selections, coming to the strip in late November.

The 45-seater is opening inside the old Vaporama shop, which is opposite Stem and right next to Jive. The idea sprouted earlier this year after Paxton returned to Adelaide from a stint in Canada and suggested opening a venue with Gariépy, his partner. The aim was to offer an affordable, “chilled out” wine bar to complement the pubs, restaurants and other venues in the area.

Never miss an Adelaide moment. Make sure you're subscribed to our newsletter today.


“In the evenings now ... It doesn't feel like the western end of Hindley Street that I knew when I was 18, which used to be dark and sketchy,” Paxton says.

While the space is tight, the high ceilings make it feel roomy. Gariépy, who designed much of the venue’s branding, will also be creating a mural inside the bar. The original chequerboard flooring lives on, albeit with a spruce up, and the room has had a splash of lighter paint.

The fit-out is the work of Roy, who works with Paxton at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. He’s designed everything from the curved, room-length timber bar to the shelving and the 18-seat communal dining table. There’ll be seven or eight outdoor tables, with the bar’s north-facing view allowing for ample sunlight.

Roy says turning the neglected space into something warm and inviting was a tall order. Once it’s finished, he hopes it has a homey feeling equivalent to going to a friend’s house for a drink.

“We wanted to create a really relaxed, approachable place for people in this far side of the city to go to. There are a lot of hubs down here like the hospital and the university, but there’s been nowhere to just have a relaxing glass of wine or some knock-offs.”

Glastonbury, who will soon finish up at Udaberri after seven years, says the wine list will be small but rotated regularly. It’ll stock Australian wines, focusing on SA labels such as Ochota Barrels and Gentle Folk, in keeping with local appetites.

“I’ve definitely seen people focusing more on local wines when they’re looking for something to drink,” he says. “Working at Udaberri, where we do have international wines, we’ve tended to find as time has gone on that people are steering more towards those local wines.”

Supplementing the wines will be a small line-up of cocktails, traditional spritzes, and some snacks such as cured meats, cheese and pickles.

Nearly will open at 179 Hindley Street in late November.