Three wine bars and two dive bars opened up in Melbourne this month. From classy to kitschy, there’s something for every person in every mood. Grab a friend and tick these off your list before November swings around. There’ll probably be another five opening up by then.
This Collingwood spot is inspired by the decaying dive bars in Brooklyn and the tiny, nameless Japanese bars where regulars would come specifically to see the owner. Take a seat in the small beer garden or cosy booths, or perch at the beautiful timber bar and chat to owners Marcus Davies and Leah Henry. Or don’t – they don’t mind either way.
The owners of Two Wrongs call it “fine diving”. That’s approachable fine dining in a dive bar. From the crystal glassware and Versace cutlery to the Nintendo 64 while you wait for your table, it’s shamelessly fun. Bright-pink stools line the bar, and a trash-filled shopping trolley serves as a host stand by the front door. Sharing options include mac’n’cheese with truffled popcorn. Beers come by the can only (except for a very limited selection on-tap).
Marion is Andrew McConnell’s latest venture – a wine bar in the space next door to Cutler & Co that once housed the first incarnation of Supernormal. Upon entry, receive “an epic wine list”, in the words of McConnell, ahead of a casual glass and a bite to eat. Grab a bowl of pasta, or a snack. Breakfast is served from 8am on weekends, and a food menu is scribbled daily onto a board, allowing the team to casually change and evolve the menu over time.
This Collingwood neighbourhood bar is modeled on the wine bars of Paris and Madrid: marble tables, an intimate atmosphere and a focus on cheese and charcuterie. Cloth napkins and vintage cutlery come with food orders, and small pots of olives come with drinks. There are eight wines on pour at a time – three whites, three reds, a rose and a sparkling. The one beer on tap will always be by brewer Wolf of the Willows – they like to keep things local here.
Ugly Duckling is Richmond’s new wine bar – by locals, for locals. At the front, dark tones and dim lighting create a moody intimate bar. In the back, a heritage-listed glass atrium bathes the room in light. It’s like a beer garden, minus the risk of bad weather ruining the fun: a calm atmosphere with fresh, summery cocktails and an extensive wine list. And sold by the glass, so you don’t have to stretch for the whole bottle.
With contributing writers Anna Webster, Linsey Rendell, Sarah de la Rue and Nick Connellan.