Bench Wine Bar
A new benchmark for Newtown’s oenophiles
Newtown – oft touted as the playground for Sydney’s inner-city bohemian-cool – has by and large missed the city’s new wave of bars. But with newcomer Bench Wine Bar joining the likes of Corridor and Moose, this inner-west ’burb is now thanking featuring a smattering of alternatives to grungy pubs.
Bench’s savvy founder, Robyn Thomas, owns the neighbouring Pizza Picasso and decided to convert an underused dining space into a bar. Built by hand from the ground up, Thomas describes the look and feel as “industrial chic”, with builder’s lamps and angle ground steel surfaces completing the look.
Thomas tells us she wanted to create a venue that’s “a haven of soft jazz, mood lighting and classic cocktails, offering innovative food and a smattering of accessibly priced Australian and New Zealand wine”. Revolutionary it ain’t, but when combined with the joint’s charismatic barkeep, Robert Long – who’s been tending bar for more than 36 years – the formula is a winner.
If Long doesn’t talk you into one of his expertly crafted classic cocktails, our top picks from the drinks list include the floral and crisp 2010 La Zona arneis from King Valley and the Barossa’s voluptuous 2010 Tscharke ‘Girl Talk’ sauvignin. And no, that’s not a spelling mistake. Sauvignin is a fresh and aromatic varietal that was mistakenly planted in Australia as Spanish/Portuguese albarino. Brews include McLaren Vale’s resinous and hoppy Vale-Ale and the popular and sessionable Little Creatures Bright Ale.
Food is delivered from Pizza Picasso through a hole in the wall. There are ‘gorgonzola dolce pots’, served with a rose petal jelly and muscatels – a great match to your floral glass of arneis. Spicy pan-fried chorizo with pimientos is not to be missed and just screams to be matched with the spice and vibrant red berry flavours of the 2009 ‘Dance with the Devil’ shiraz/tempranillo from Margaret River.
Thomas puts it best: “Bench Wine Bar just feels easy. Do it!”
Where: Shop 4, 503-511 King St, Newtown
When: Wed-Fri from 5pm, Sat-Sun from 4pm
Details: There’s no phone or website, so just rock on up