Running a hospitality business isn’t easy – or cheap. It’s no wonder so many people are opting to work in teams of four or more to open new venues, such as the owners at The Kettle Black, Touchwood and Pastuso. In a converted warehouse in Thornbury, new bar Trumpy has four veterans playing one game-winning hand.
The cosy, fire-lit bar was initiated by Jay Rayner (founder of The Shadow Electric) and Jamie McEntee, who bring their business and design skills to the table. Later they were joined by Andrew Leonedas (Blue Diamond Club, Carlton Yacht Club), bartender Guy Barker and their time-honed hospitality skills.
Like the team itself, Trumpy is quietly confident; more concerned with doing simple things well than breaking new ground. This approach is reflected in the concise list of beers and whiskies, which broadly represents the current market without shining a light in every far-flung corner. It is also applied to the range of lesser-known classic cocktails.
The menu gets more adventurous with wine, taking in Austrian varietals such as blaufränkisch and zweigelt alongside more common drops, such as pinot noir and sauvignon blanc. "We're trying to reconcile this huge world of obscure wines with what the average punter will enjoy and not be too intimidated by," Barker says.
This is a key idea at Trumpy, which feels much friendlier than most wine bars. From the upbeat tunes resonating in the lofty ceilings, to the buzzy local vibe, it’s easy to feel at home. Certain food is even available late into the evening, after chef Michael Sutcliffe (ex-Clifton Hill's The Terminus, Belle's Diner) has gone home. Better to arrive early, though, to get a chance at pretzels and fondue, pumpkin with dukkah and labneh, or fish fried in lemon butter.
646 High Street, Thornbury
(03) 9480 0012
Wed to Sun 5pm–1am