Three years in the making, new Fitzroy North wine bar and shop One Trick Pony (OTP) is a departure from big, bold barbeque for Bluebonnet chef and owner Chris Terlikar. But it’s also a homecoming of sorts. He’s back in the 140-year-old corner pub he moved Bluebonnet into in 2016 after the original Collingwood restaurant was gutted by fire the year before. Here are five reasons to get down there asap.

Enter via wine shop
Booze manager Ben Skipper will probably be the first person you see when you arrive at OTP. He’s curated wines for Vue de Monde, Estelle and Lagoon Dining, so you know you’re in good hands in both the wine shop and the wine bar it leads to. But that’s not all it leads to. When Broadsheet visits, the team pops an unassuming trapdoor in the floor and we a take ladder down into a tiny bluestone cellar with perfect humidity and temperature for cellaring superior wines.

It’s not Bluebonnet 2.0
Upstairs, you’ll find Chris in the open kitchen. He might be making mezcal mignonette, filling stringy brik pastry rolls with crème fraîche and cured trout, slicing house-made wild boar and fennel salami, or prepping the rabbit for his gnocchetti dish. The Melbourne chef is known for the smoky slabs of meat he fell in love with in Texas, but pre-barbeque epiphany, he was cooking at Michelin-starred restaurants overseas, including Public in New York. Here, his ever-changing modern-Australian menu is market-driven. “I try and get down there when it opens in the morning and base my menu around what is good.”

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But the fit-out nods to the past
When Bluebonnet left Fitzroy North, the old pub was gutted and turned into townhouses, leaving enough of a corner space for a neighbourhood wine bar to eventually arrive. The shell Chris took over was transformed by IF Architecture and builders Rosa & Co into a beautiful wood-floored, cream-coloured space where the curves of the walls, columns and scalloped shelving make the shape of the building come alive. Odd-shaped mirrors and bespoke rail lighting with spherical lampshades hint at art deco, while the elegant bar is elephant-grey marble. The afternoon sunlight – and the sunsets – through the sash windows in the intimate dining room upstairs are glorious. And on the days when La Niña isn’t apparent, there are also seats outside on the pavement.

Local landmarks line the walls
The artworks by Chris’s brother Joe Terlikar don’t hang on the walls – they were handpainted directly onto them. Look around to find paintings of birds, recognisable Fitzroy North residences and famous local footy heroes (with strong moustache games). The light, bright walls of the wine bar and shop are the artist’s canvas, with the idea that he will continue adding different locally inspired works as the years roll on.

Cocktails are mixed tableside
If you’re moving on from wine, front-of-house manager Simon George-Gamlyn, a local hospo heavyweight, will mix you a classic cocktail from his chrome drinks trolley.

One Trick Pony
6 Newry Street, Fitzroy North
(03) 9482 2247

Hours:
Wine bar
Tue to Fri 5pm–late
Sat & Sun 12pm–3pm, 5pm–late

Wine shop
Tue to Sun 11am–late

otp-wine.com.au