Primrose & Vine
On a sleepy residential corner in Essendon, a warm glow emanates from a large window shadowed by a convex awning. It’s a sign that locals are enjoying a drop at Primrose & Vine, a comfortable wine bar serving local and European wines alongside build-your-own charcuterie boards.
Husband-and-wife duo Steve and Robyn Harris are behind the cosy neighbourhood haunt. The pair has operated the boutique wine shop next door (which stocks more than 250 wines) since 2018. After much petitioning from locals, they opened the neighbouring wine bar in 2021.
Inside, there are a dozen or so wines by the glass, changing fortnightly, and two beers on tap. And any of the 250 bottles (or beers) from the wine store’s shelves can be brought in with a small corkage fee. Steve says 50 per cent of the varietals are produced in Australia, while the rest are a mix of Italian, Spanish and French wines; you might find a light, fruity Mastroberardino rosato from Campania; a 2018 Parajes del Valle monastrell, a rich red from Spain; or a floral Domaine Alain Gautheron chablis from France. But as well as these more traditional drops, you’ll also find a strong selection of lo-fi, sulphite-free and skin-contact wines, plus a huge craft-gin range.
For snacks, the team prepares cheese platters and grazing boards from a small kitchen – you can build your own or there’s an excellent jamon plate. If you’re after something heartier, though, woodfired pizzas can be delivered from Il Caminetto, which is only a few hundred metres away.
The two-tone space, designed by Robyn (an interior decorator by trade), feels like your mate’s living room. Settle into the cosy main dining room with its maple finishes and warm pendant lighting. A large Parapluie Revel poster hangs on one wall. The area by the window instead has darker wall paint and mosaic floor tiling. It’s designed for those looking to have a drink on the fly, with beautiful cork-look stools and a stand-up bar. Steve also converted the bottle-o’s drive-through into an outdoor-dining area – so you can sit outside while you enjoy a drop.
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