James Audas and Tom Sheer are old school friends and together run Lo-Fi Wines, an import business that supplies top restaurants up and down the east coast, including Harvest Newrybar, Fleet and Ciao, Mate! around Byron. One of their favourite things to do on their overseas travels is check out wine bars, where they often discover interesting new bottles.
Bar Heather, named after a dear friend of theirs, is a place to do the same. Loud and fun with a soundtrack of Afrobeat and late-era disco, it showcases small independent wine producers from around the world. Wines come from France, Italy, Austria and Germany, but also Switzerland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Georgia and other producing countries less often seen in Australia.
Acclaimed chef Ollie Wong-Hee entered the duo’s orbit while working at top restaurants including Ester and Sixpenny in Sydney, and Franklin in Hobart. As much as possible, he tries to match the food to wine, rather than the other way around.
Typical wine bar fare such as oysters and house-made potato crisps are here, but Wong-Hee throws great curveballs with ingredients such as curry leaves, shiitake mushrooms, Chinese broccoli and Japanese tare sauce. If it’s available, make sure to finish with his signature banana ice-cream sandwich with Vegemite caramel.
The decor is a greatest hits collection of things that have inspired Audas and Sheer in their travels, including French timber floors, aged green leather banquettes, and a mortadella-coloured marble horseshoe bar.
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