Henry G’s is the new boutique wine bar on The Corso, from Manly-centric hospitality group Saga (Donny’s, In Situ, The Hold). The bar is named after the “father Of Manly” Henry Gilbert Smith, who contributed much of the beachside locale’s character: the rows of Norfolk Island pines, the staggering Steyne hotel and the wharf. The namesake bar follows his spirit, sitting in a 20th century building with old charm aplenty.

“We want people to enjoy this beautiful boutique wine bar and be transported to the streets of London in the mid-1800s,” says Saga director Jorja Thomson.

The interiors are plush and moody, with rich chocolate hues and muted tones inviting drinkers to linger. The fit-out – a six-month labour of love that had the team trawling through antique stores – features rare, handpicked pieces. The biggest drawcard, however, is the library wall of antique books. “I sourced them from everywhere – Facebook Marketplace, antique stores, op shops. When people heard about it, they began donating their books,” says Thomson. “We’ve found several school and children's books with notes and names in them, and when guests open them, it’s like a time capsule.”

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Taking pride of place inside the venue is a generously donated antique piano from 1893, which booked pianists arrive to play at every Saturday night.

The 170-bottle wine list zeroes in on provincial European wine, with nods to local favourites like South Australia’s Rieslingfreak and the Hunter Valley’s Little Wine Co. “Because of the northern Spanish style of eating we’re going for, we’re taking a coastal European influence [for the wine list],” Saga director Pete Byron Jenkins says. “[There’s a] garganega from Anselmi, a coastal, northern Italian style of wine. It has a beautiful oil and saline [feel] to it, so it works perfectly with the jamons, prosciuttos. We’re also really proud of the Carlo, a really interesting grape called malvasia from Lazio, the same province as Rome.”

On Wednesdays, masterclasses give a sneak peek into new additions before they grace the official list. “The aim is to highlight something we’re proud of on our list, and then they bring a couple of interesting items from [our wine supplier’s] portfolio. Our somms usually take control, teach guests about the grape and why we’re pairing it with the pintxos we have.” Next week, Perrier-Jouet is on pour alongside oysters from Sydney rock oyster purveyors East 33 – an ode to one of the most exceptional pairings to exist.

The food menu is decidedly drinker-friendly, with the extremely smashable pintxos designed to dance with the wine list “bite for sip”. Cured pork tartare is topped with angel hair chilli and egg yolk. A spicy pan con tomate is elevated with sage and lemon; perfected gildas come in threes. Padron peppers are halved, filled with “torn burrata”, topped with manchego then licked with a blowtorch. “It’s a little bit smoky, the stracciatella brings back a lot of [the pepper’s] heat but leaves it with the delicate, fruity taste,” says Byron Jenkins.

Tins of Cambados fish – wild-caught sardines, Galician octopus and scallops – are elevated with pickles and crusty bread, and a sumptuous burnt Basque cheesecake rounds it off.

Henry G’s is a home for connoisseurs and newcomers alike, for laid-back after-work drinks or noteworthy celebrations. “We wanted something a little more grown-up,” says Byron Jenkins. “A sedate wine bar, with a pianist at the end of the night, that you could sip and bite to.”

Henry G’s
11 The Corso, Manly

Hours:
Tue to Sun 4pm–late

henrygs.com.au
@henrygswineparlour