If you’re heading on a road trip this summer, you might want to consider a stopover in the Sapphire Coast town of Merimbula. It’s roughly halfway along the coast between Sydney and Melbourne.

Not only does it have beautiful beaches and an abundance of national parks in close vicinity, but soon too the best bar for miles, courtesy of the Shady Pines family.

Jason Scott of Sydney’s Swillhouse Group is offering behind-the-scenes advice to his fiancé, Kirsty Pongratz. She is opening a new bar named Dulcie’s Cottage with business partner, Mitchell Nadin.

Dulcie’s Cottage will open in mid-November and will plug a gap in the market that Pongratz saw when at home from Sydney visiting friends and family. She noticed the only places to enjoy a Sunday afternoon drink were the pub or clubs.

Pongratz was a supportive part of opening Swillhouse venues Baxter Inn, Frankie’s Pizza and soon-to-open restaurant, Hubert, and her plan is to bring a similar style to Merimbula. “Having Swillhouse in my blood, the standard of service we want to provide is high,” she says.

The bar will serve cocktails, an interesting wine list and a wide selection of craft beers. Staff will be well versed in what they’re serving, and “Patrons will have the opportunity to ask questions and explore different products with guidance from us,” says Pongratz.

A great drinks menu and sommelier-calibre staff aren’t the only things that will make Dulcie’s Cottage stand out in the local area: its setting has a story to it.

“It’s an original little white weatherboard cottage that was built in 1925. It’s gorgeous, with a huge 50-year-old jacaranda tree out the front. Merimbula has had so many new developments that haven’t aged well, and hasn’t ever focused on preserving the historical structures,” says Pongratz.

“We fell in love with this cottage and desperately wanted to preserve it. After a little research, we found that a local woman was one of eight children who grew up in the cottage that her father and grandfather built. Her mum cooked, cleaned, washed, ironed and made the clothes for the entire family. It’s not a big house. Anyway she was a boss and her name was Dulcie.”

Dulcie’s Cottage is due to open in mid-November at 60 Main Street, Merimbula, NSW.