As a former “wine guy” – someone who nerds out a little too hard on the list, cares a little too much about back vintages, and has dabbled in decanting – I’m very familiar with Scopri. The Italian dining institution in Carlton has been serving BYO lovers seeking good service (and great glassware) for more than 14 years.

When I heard the Piedmonte-focused restaurant opened Bar Olo, a more casual wine bar down the road, I knew I had to drop in for aperitivo hour.

In Italy, aperitivo hour is pre-dinner drinks that take place during the limbo state between knocking off and kicking on. A good aperitivo hour, in my mind, needs two things: bitter drinks, and salty stuzzichini (Italian snacks). Bar Olo has both in spades.

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But what really makes aperitivo hour – which runs from 4pm to 6pm, Wednesday through Saturday – special is the hospitality and the feeling that you’re always being looked after.

Translating what makes an institution like Scopri so great into an entirely new venue is a challenge. But owner-operators Anthony Scutella and Alison Foley, are experts in hospitality that goes the extra mile.

From reclining lady swizzle sticks to the ornate table lamps dotted throughout the bar, the new venue feels camp, kitsch and cool in equal measure.

When I visit with my husband late one Wednesday afternoon, the softly lit room is filled with the sound of Italian pop classics playing through the speakers.

We’re seated at the bar and are instantly greeted by Scutella. When the ever-delightful owner asks if we want food, I said I saw a photo of small pieces of cheese on someone’s Instagram that I was now hoping to order.

Moments later, a plate covered in off-menu hunks of parmesan – accompanied by a knowing wink from Scutella – arrived at our table.

The cocktail list features Piedmontese staples – bitter vermouths and drinks that celebrate the vibrancy of all things Campari. We settled on a Shakerato and an Antica Formula vermouth topped with Fever Tree tonic.

If you’re searching for larger dishes, there are also plates of fritto misto and prawn tramezzini (crustless sandwiches). Bowls of agnolotti del plin (stuffed pasta) leave the pass at rapid speed.

While Scopri is continuously booked, walk-ins are encouraged for aperitivo hour at Bar Olo. Scopri-level hospitality in a more casual and laid-back setting, and the ability to pop in for a quick stop and chat, is what makes aperitivo hour here so special.