In the children’s book, Clever Polly and the Stupid Wolf, titular Polly defeats aforementioned stupid wolf with a combination of nous, pluck and good cheer. Lou Chalmer and her brother, Rohan Chalmer, saw in the fable an analogy for the struggle between small, independent winemakers and their mass-produced competitors.
The duo’s bottleshop and bar offers a range of natural wines, craft beers and unpasteurised sake. By and large, Clever Polly’s booze is free of additives and preservatives, and is made with minimal interventions during the fermentation process.
Chalmer is a graduate of Gertrude Street Enoteca and holds a bachelors degree in environmental science. He believes the balance between sweet and savoury is better in natural wines. It's also less likely to give drinkers a headache and allows for a truer appreciation of a wine’s terroir.
Wines by producers such as Lucy Margaux, Tom Shobbrook and Patrick Sullivan are available by the bottle, along with orange wines from France and Italy. A select range is available by the glass, as are seasonal craft beers.
Clever Polly's also serves a Japanese-inspired omakase (chef's selection) menu. Chefs Kayne Mordini (formerly of Proud Mary) and Sam Stafford (The Town Mouse, Momofuku Seiobo) oversee a four- or six-course mini degustation that highlights local producers with a pared-back aesthetic.
Like any good wine bar, there's a rotating selection of cheeses. Coffee is from the nearby Queensberry Pour House.