One of Sydney’s best wine bars, the Dolphin Hotel’s popular silver-walled Wine Room, quietly closed in December last year for renovations, with no word on when it would reopen – or what it would look like when it did. Now the venue’s owner, Maurice Terzini (Icebergs, Cicciabella), has announced the wine haven will not only return but will become the focal point of the entire Surry Hills pub.

Terzini took over the pub in 2016 and created a venue within a venue, the Wine Room, which poured the tastiest drops from some of the world’s most interesting wine producers alongside a focused food menu. The catch was that you could only sample the range – curated by sommelier James Hird – on the few occasions when the tiny venue was open. Soon, that minimal-intervention, produce-driven vino will be centre stage rather than a side note, meaning pub-goers will be able to snag a top-notch glass of natural wine whenever they want.

The new concept was partly inspired by Terzini’s influential Melbourne Wine Room, which he opened in 1996. It’s been lauded for leading the charge on spaces that were pubs by name but served restaurant-quality food and wine.

It’s been a big couple of months for the Icebergs Group. Executive chef Monty Koludrovic and his wife, head pastry chef Jaclyn Koludrovic, left Sydney for Byron Bay. In December, the Dolphin’s head sommelier, Marie-Sophie Canto, left the group and is now at Coogee’s Una Mas. And also in December, upstairs bar Scout had its last service, and will reopen somewhere in Sydney sometime this year.

There is no word yet on when the new wine room will open.