Once a school, the whole Collingwood Yards precinct – which also includes wine and pasta bar Hope St Radio – underwent a mammoth transformation to become the arts hub it is today. Runner Up occupies the old caretaker’s residence, and consists of a hybrid bar and open-air courtyard with 270-degree views of the Collingwood surrounds.

Cumquat trees and fig trees are scattered around the space, a nod to the bar’s subtle Mediterranean theme. Inside the owners have leaned into the building’s history, installing custom-made laminate tables featuring primary-coloured geometric prints, bright-orange vinyl chairs, velvet curtains and dreamy cloud-covered walls. A regular rotation of DJs make good use of two vintage Japanese speakers either side of the bar.

The drinks list mainly revolves around natural wines – all but one are from Australia or Italy. And sticking with the theme, there are also several amari, plus craft beers and a handful of fresh, bright cocktails. Though you can push the boat out with an expensive magnum of cuvee, there’s tap wine, beer and even one cocktail (the Bicicleta, a mix of rosé, Campari and soda) available for around $10.”

Food is also wallet-friendly and on the lighter side. Think snacks like tinned fish, dolmades and Chappy’s Chips.

Updated: February 8th, 2022

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