Since opening in mid-2021, inner-east neighbourhood wine bar Lune has become known first and foremost for its (topnotch) snacks. It’s a common story, as more and more watering holes place greater attention on food (Pastel and Good Gilbert among them) and the line between bar and restaurant continues to blur. So at Dolly, the latest from the Bar Lune team, co-owner Sam Worrall-Thompson wants to offer a versatile, laid-back spot to kick back with a well-made drink.

The bar, which opened in January at the base of a new apartment complex on Unley Road (near newly opened Bandit Pizza and Wine) is pouring house creations like The Parton (a nod to the bar’s musical namesake featuring gin, elderflower, chartreuse, apple and lemon); Golden Hour (with gin, lillet, apricot jam, lemon, honey and orange bitters); a Coconut Mint Margarita (tequila, triple sec, coconut, mint and lime); and Pandanic (pandan-infused white rum, macadamia, pineapple, cucumber, lime and sesame). Perch up at the swanky concrete bar in the middle of the room, or take a seat at one of the tables flanking the walls and windows. You won’t see any back bar stacked with bottles of spirits in here – everything is stored internally, opening the room up and centring the atmosphere around the bar.

There’s also an approachable wine list for all-comers, similar in curation to Lune’s and favouring local drops from producers such as Yangarra, Harrison, Hills Collide and Mazi, which is Dolly co-owner Toby Porter’s label (Josh De Haas, Brett Hicks-Maitland, Tony Bales, Jordan Schmidt, James Bills and Hamish Brown round out the partnership).

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While you’re likely to be focused on what’s in your glass, or who’s in front of you, don’t forget to look up – designer Ryan Genesin of Genesin Studio has installed a mirrored chrome ceiling, which will no doubt be featured in many Instagram photos to come.

Despite the drinks focus, the food is no afterthought. The team has brought on head chef Scott Schwartz (previously at Vintners in the Barossa) to aid executive chef Adam Bowden in turning out an inspired menu of snacks and share plates including oysters with mignonette and Champagne granita; crab soldiers with chilli crisp and shaved bottarga; taramasalata with waffle, roe and nori; and kangaroo tartare with saltbush, black garlic and peas. Those with a bigger appetite can order a grilled cheese sandwich with mushroom and Vegemite; buttermilk-fried quail with hot sauce and pickled daikon; steamed zucchini flowers with spaetzle, ricotta and honey; and crispy pig’s head with pear, witlof and sorrel.

“What we’re trying to do with Dolly is bring three or four elements of hospitality together,” says Worrall-Thompson, acknowledging the importance of nailing food, drinks and service, as well as design. “I just don’t think we have the population in Adelaide yet to be so specific. The idea is to try to hit all the demographics.”

One market he’s hoping to capture is the after-work drinks crowd. “We don’t get that at Lune because we’re a bit of a destination. [But here] we’ve got all the fashion [stores] throughout King William Road and you’ve got the Metro just down from us, and there are heaps of hairdressers … we’re really going for that neighbourhood vibe again, that real relaxed sort of wine bar – with more of a cocktail focus.

There’s also DJs on Friday and Saturday nights. “I kind of want it to be almost like a club environment on Friday and Saturday nights, without being too brash, with a serious food offering,” says Worrall-Thompson. “A little bit of a club, a little bit of a bar and a little bit of a restaurant – that’s the ultimate goal.”

The team has also signed the lease on the space behind the bar, which, come autumn, will be a panini bar by day and a holding cell for bar overflow in the evenings. “It’ll have that Italian touch to it,” says Worrall-Thompson, who’ll be in the kitchen to begin with. “It’ll be glammed up but we’ll keep the menu small, probably six to eight fresh and toasted [sandwiches] and there’ll be as much crossover as we can have with cured meats and stuff that we can use at night for the bar snack menu.”

There’ll also be pastries and coffee in the morning, before the vibe shifts at night to a tiny, intimate bar with a handful of seats and menu items scrawled on a blackboard.

Dolly opens on Wednesday January 18.

Dolly
246 Unley Road, Unley.*

Hours:
Wed & Thu 4pm–late
Fri to Sun 12pm–late

dollyadl.com.au
@dolly_adl