With a prime position on Dromana’s main drag, The Bodega is the Mornington Peninsula's breezy new wine destination. The wine bar, deli and store, which opened in March, exudes relaxed luxury, with the same attention to detail given to takeaway as the dine-in experience. Pack a boozy picnic and head to the beach, or stay a while and imagine you’re on a European vacay.
The venue is the first foray into hospitality for husband-and-wife duo Lachlan and Mariah Barnes, who gave the former carpet shop a new lease on life with a top-to-toe renovation. The design is light, luxe and coastal, with white walls, curved edges, and gold accents giving it a Santorini vibe. There are high-top timber tables that Lachlan made himself, and green velvet armchairs and boucle bar stools for stylish comfort.
“Originally, we were going to go dark and moody like an inner-city wine bar, but then we decided to go coastal. We wanted something fresh,” says Lachlan.
Beyond the white fluted bar is a deli section brimming with antipasto and old-school salami strung overhead. You can grab a hunk of French brie or Spanish manchego and choose your accompaniments, from salty olives and prosciutto to peninsula honeycomb and fresh figs. “Our whole concept stems from the deli; everything else is built around it,” says Mariah.
A floor-to-ceiling wine wall features 250 hand-picked bottles (including more than 40 local wines from the peninsula, plus drops from wider Victoria and the rest of the world) categorised by region, with 20 available by the glass. The cosy communal table is a perfect spot to perch and partake in a tasting – there are six staff picks on rotation. It also doubles as a great spot for date night when the venue changes gears from light and breezy to warm and intimate.
A tight tapas-style menu includes Flinders oysters, saucy prawn and cucumber rolls in pillowy brioche buns, and an heirloom tomato salad with oozing burrata and local Miller’s bread. A small larder is stacked with pasta and preserves, and a takeaway fridge houses craft beers and bottled cocktails, including a classic Negroni and a salted caramel Espresso Martini.
On any given day you’ll find the place humming with locals, sitting outside under the umbrellas, reclined in the low-slung rattan chairs, or ducking in for a bite or a bottle on their way home.
Mon to Tue closed
Thu to Sun midday–late