Luton Lane Wine Bar
Nevermind Bar in Hawthorn has been serving burgers, beer, wine and perplexing blue drinks until 3am on weekends for the last 20 years.
So when a handful of its staff and co-owners opened a wine bar around the corner, Luton Lane Wine Bar, it was a decidedly different, “grown-up” venture.
The space is a monochromatic alcove beneath a residential apartment block with polished cement pillars stretching to a high ceiling, glass lampshades, and a long, swerving marble bar. Techno has been eclipsed by a single turntable spinning easy-listening hip-hop.
None of the bar’s five owners are sommeliers or wine experts, they just like drinking it. The passion for wine bloomed in 2015 when the Nevermind gang started stocking pricey bottles of wine and offering “$600 cheeseburgers with a free bottle of Penfolds” deals.
The 120-bottle wine list isn’t committed to one wine region, though a European bent is noticeable, with a sizeable portion of the by-the-glass list from Spain and Italy.
And that’s the direction of the food too. The menu is lengthy for a wine bar, spanning bar snacks in all forms: from ’nduja, green tomato, jamon pintxos and tiny tins of Spanish seafood, to charcuterie, cheese and charred skewers of chorizo. Again the idea is to keep it broad and approachable.
A favourite among the team comes from the vegetarian section: wrinkled, crisp, papery brussels sprouts served with the glossiest of cheese sauces – a manchego-and-pecorino custard. It’s all good for sharing – even the generous skewers of wagyu rump slices can be split bite for bite.