In June, Dan Wegener (formerly of Sydney fine diner Quay and Print Hall in Perth) and wife Katie Wegener opened Wine Room’s by Harvey Leigh’s, a Beaufort Street wine bar focusing on French farmhouse dining and bottles from Champagne and Burgundy. Three months later and it’s time for the Wegeners to unveil the mothership.
Taking over the old Beaufort Local site, Harvey Leigh’s Public House will be a 180-seat venue serving food, beer, wine and cocktails – all the good things people look for in a neighbourhood spot.
“When I go to the pub, I don’t want to have to step too far out of my comfort zone: that’s what Harvey Leigh’s is about,” says Dan. “At Wine Rooms there are a couple of things that are designed to challenge the market a little. Public House is a little more easy-flowing, with a good, fun vibe. It’s all things as opposed to one thing and we want to make it easy for people to get what they want.”
Considering Dan is regarded as one of the country’s best sommeliers, it should come as little surprise that Harvey Leigh’s Public House is home to a strong wine offering. A dedicated, enoteca-style wine school will sell bottles to drink-in and take away, and the Wegeners are working on a calendar of wine education classes. Compared to the offering at Wine Rooms, the main list offered throughout Public House will be a little broader in its scope and carry plenty of wines from big-scale West Australian producers. A dedicated cocktail and craft-beer bar is also on the cards.
In addition to the wine school area, the venue is home to a number of different spaces. The beer garden has survived the change of ownership while guests can enjoy takeaway coffee and crepes. The walls are adorned with vintage ephemera and block-mounted posters of Dracula, A Farewell To Arms and other classic novels. Donated timber from Ferguson Valley winery Talisman Wines is featured throughout the neo-pub fit-out.
Chef Michael Ingham, currently finishing up at Isle of Voyage in Elizabeth Quay, will oversee the food offering (Dan: “He’s a Yorkshireman that works with really rich flavours. He treats meat really well. He treats vegetables really well”). Upmarket pub comfort is the name of the game with guests able to enjoy hand-sliced charcuterie and smallgoods, luxed-up pub comfort (think pig’s head croquettes, chicken schnitzel with apple and celeriac remoulade, and pastrami sandwiches) and Normandy-style buckwheat crepes. Bar seats will offer views into the open kitchen as well as of televisions screens.