It’s a song the thirsty residents of Surrey Hills have been longing to hear. The suburb – one of Melbourne’s few dry zones – has a new wine bar, from the team behind Toorak Cellars, Milton Wine Shop and the Alps.
To get around the dry-zone restrictions, The Hills serves pizzas alongside cheese, charcuterie, terrines and salmon gravlax – snacks found in the group’s other bars. Once it finds its feet, the food offering will likely extend to regular Sunday roasts.
Still, wine is the focus. “We’re a wine bar, first and foremost,” says co-owner Lyndon Kubis. “Wine – and the types of wine we sell – is the consistent thing across all our venues. Wines that taste of a time and place, wines with character, with edges and angles.
“Before we opened, we had a lot of people tell us that we’d have to rethink our wine list, sell wines that were a bit safer. But we ignored that. One thing we never do is adjust the wine list based on our location.”
A by-the-glass list of 20 wines will change weekly, and there are around 200 options by the bottle. At the moment bottles can’t be bought to take away, although that will change sometime in the future.
Aesthetically, The Hills is fitted out with the same steel and pine furniture (custom-made by I Am Not Mason) as the other bars, but there’s more seating. Warmth comes from olive-green subway tiles, exposed brick walls, dark wooden floors and a blazing wood heater, designed by Nicola Cortese in collaboration with I Am Not Mason. Branding, including an image of The Sound of Music’s Julie Andrews twirling on the far wall, is the work of design studio Wildhen.
“Based on the response we’ve seen so far, the area was crying out for something like this,” says Kubis. “Delicious wines, a bit of food, open fires.”
The Hills Wine Bar
141 Union Road, Surrey Hills
(03) 9890 3739