Forget 99 bottles of beer. There are 1084 painstakingly hand-painted bottles of wine on the wall at Brunswick East Wine Bar. That’s the (rather straight-forward) name of Brunswick East Wine Store’s new bar. It has been humming away for a short while now, but officially launched as of last week. One of the bottles, painted by the bar’s founder Tim Cohen, is not like the others…bet you’ll never be able to find it though!
Viticulturalist and sommelier Tim (ex-Vue de Monde, Albert St Food & Wine and The Point) has put together a welcoming local wine haunt (you can find a small selection of craft beers, ciders and spirits too). He’s a bit ‘Rain Man’ with details on the products he selects for the store/bar so take the chance to pull up a stool and let him pick something new based on your tastes. The wine menu at the bar is interactive – the week’s offering decided by the first four reds and whites ordered by punters each Sunday. Better hope your fellow drinkers have good taste (I’ve tried four drops here so far – including the house cleanskin Shiraz – and they have all been winners, so you’re probably in luck).
With no kitchen to speak of bar snacks are limited to the sipping-adjacent essentials – a little charcuterie, a little fromage, a little picky anchovy, artichoke or olive – but the menu is no less tasty for it. The bar’s signature dish is a truffled cheese toastie with melting fontina atop crispy bread spiked with plenty of shaved truffle, usually sourced from Manjimup in W.A. but sometimes from the Tamar in Tassie. Alongside this Tim recommends One Chain Road’s 2010 Pinot Noir, “it’s earthy and doesn’t have any big fruit flavours…Gippsland wine producers are underrated”. White wine lovers may prefer to opt for Collector’s Lamplit Marsanne. Either way, you’ll leave with light of heart and happy of mouth.
Pop into the Brunswick East Wine Bar at 472 Lygon Street, Brunswick East.