Footscray bar Mr West has opened its bottle shop.
“I thought it was going to be an uphill battle for a while but everyone has embraced it, which means we can be just as experimental, if not more experimental, downstairs,” Hodges says.
There are a handful of tables in the sparsely decorated shop, with more to come as the space evolves. The upcycled industrial vibe from the bar upstairs carries through here, with dark natural wood and concrete floors. You can drink in (and upstairs), with corkage added to the shelf price.
Hodges’ co-founder in the business, Caleb Baker, used to work with Custard and Co cider, and that heritage is reflected in the fridges, with “lots of Australian stuff, but then also a lot of really good French and Spanish ciders,” Hodges says.
To assist with the wine offering, Baker and Hodges enlisted Dave Hynes, who recently spent time working at Embla before a break in Italy. Hynes is a natural wine lover but assures us that, like the bar, the list is accessible to everyone.
“Upstairs there are weird things on tap, and expensive things on tap, but if you just want an easy drinking lager that’s cheap, we’ve got that too,” Hynes says. “And that’s what I want to do with the wines.
“Yeah, there’s some weird, natural, funky skin ferment wild stuff in there, but there’s also some deliciously smashable sauvignon blanc for $15.”
On top of all that, there’s a solid range of local and esoteric international spirits, including a roasted-pineapple gin from Jamaica, and a mushroom rum from Mexico.
“There’s obviously people who love good booze around here and we just want to help them drink it,” Hodges says.
Mr West Bottle Shop
106 Nicholson Street, Footscray
Sun to Thu 12pm–10pm
Fri & Sat 12pm–11pm
This article was updated on January 29, 2018.