Just opened by Andrew McConnell over the weekend, Marion is a wine bar for serious grape lovers. Spanning two shopfronts next door to Cutler & Co. on Fitzroy’s Gertrude Street, and laying claim to the most impressive and comprehensive wine list in the area, it’s the sort of place where you might stop in for a glass but can’t help staying for a bottle.
It’s an industrial-style fit-out; think white-washed brick walls, lots of glass, black leather and dark wood and a floor untouched since the site’s days as a metal plating factory. The room is divided into two parts: an open kitchen serves as a key feature of the room on the left-hand side, and there’s a small curved bar and ceiling-high wine racks on the right. Both rooms have a mixture of seating, standing and leaning space, and there are plenty of curb-side spots too.
A lengthy permanent wine list covers the major grape varieties, but also devotes entire sections to less familiar varietals such as grüner veltliner, chenin blanc and gamay. Orange and minimal-intervention wines feature, and there are sections for half-bottles and magnums. There’s also a shorter changing list of new and interesting wines the team is enjoying at the time, plus 15-odd wines-by-the-glass that are on offer at any given time.
The food menu changes daily, but you can expect a range of small bites such as oysters, bay scallops or charcuterie from McConnell’s own nearby butcher, Meatsmith.
The food offering is scribbled daily on a board, allowing the team to casually change and evolve the menu. As McConnell said in an interview with Broadsheet last week: “It will be flexible, and very spontaneous. It’s structured in such a way that it can be used just for a snack, or a quick bowl of pasta on your way through. Or you could stay and build your own degustation menu.”
There will always be plenty of cheese, and maybe a tart or two for dessert. On weekends, Marion opens at 8am for breakfast, which it serves all day.