If you’re looking to learn more about wine and have a bloody delicious time doing it, Where’s Nick is your place.
The name comes from the owners, brothers Julian and Dominic Abouzeid, one of whom used to be the purchaser for Sydney’s acclaimed wine store, The Oak Barrel. Nick is their third brother and the only sibling not involved in the venue other than being an occasional customer.
Pretty much every wine in stock here (150 bottles) has been chosen by Julian, not just for its drinkability but based on how natural the production methods are and whether it offers something divergent from standard wine culture. As each wine bottle is finished it’s replaced by another suitably interesting bottle. A few reds, a few whites and a few nonconformist colours are featured on a chalkboard by-the-glass menu.
Same goes for the beers: tapped and bottled varieties shift regularly but always retain a local skew. The spirits, which are Australian focused, don’t change as much. For non-boozy options there’s Postcard teas, an artisan London producer of English, Japanese and Chinese tea; and filter coffee from Mecca.
Behind the counter, Dominic mans the kitchen. With a tiny oven and even smaller prep space, the menu is mini pizzas, charcuterie, cheese, Dominic’s house duck rillettes and a peanut butter, banana and dark chocolate cake.
There’s a hodgepodge collection of furniture and decoration (including a few incredible murals, one of the eponymous Nick and another piece by artist Ian Swift). The homely and improvised look juxtaposes with the quality of the product. It makes sense though –it’s the brothers’ first venue and, in an effort to keep drink prices low, everything was done on a tight budget and with almost every family member involved – besides Nick, of course.