Sometimes it’s difficult to present wine without pretence, but Willows & Wine manages just that. The wine bar and bookshop is warm, inviting and above all, low-fuss.
The heritage shopfront gives way to an intimate, low-lit space. A blackboard at the entrance highlights the week’s specials, and one behind the bar features an expanding list of regulars’ names (owner Alice Wheeler is great with faces, but not so good with names).
The sparse interior decoration intentionally draws the eye to the bookshelf. An entire side of the room is dedicated to an ever-growing library of secondhand books. You’re welcome to flip through a book there – if you like it enough, you can buy it and take it home. The selection of board games is also popular, from Jenga to Settlers of Catan.
The strong wine list reflects Alice’s passion for international travel. German rieslings and Italian proseccos jostle for attention, and they’re supported by wines from Australia’s most prominent regions. There’s also a selection of beers on tap and enough spirits behind the bar to make all the classics.
For grazing, the antipasto boards – made with a slicer gifted from The Artisan’s Bottega next door – are a popular option. If something heavier is needed, you’re welcome to order in.