Get a look at City Winery’s new Eagle Street cellar door and bar
It’s an exciting time for denizens of Eagle Street. The iconic riverside hub has welcomed its fair share of new faces recently, but its most recent arrival might tickle the sensibilities of oenophiles more than the others. Lauded Fortitude Valley-based micro-winery City Winery has expanded to Eagle Street Pier, with a brand-new cellar door, wine bar and bistro set to open at the strip on Friday May 7. If you’ve made plans to be elsewhere this Friday, scrap them – we’ve got an inkling this will soon become your go-to sundowner spot.
When Adam Penberthy and Dave Cush of Gerler Wines opened City Winery’s Wandoo Street headquarters in March 2019, they didn’t think multiple sites would be on the cards. Sure, if the opportunity to open the odd suburban cellar door appeared, they’d consider it – but cracking into the inner-city scene was a different matter. More than a year and one global pandemic later, things have changed. Thus far, the group’s COVID-recovery strategy has been predicated entirely on taking wine to the people. Pandemic pivots such as pop-up cellar doors, home-delivery services and online wine-tastings worked amazingly well at keeping spirits high, so much so that when the team opened its 50-seat wine bar and cellar door on Edward Street back in July, it marked an unexpected but incredibly well-received introduction to the humming city centre. The City Winery crew will be looking to replicate the success of Edward Street with its new cellar door and bistro at Eagle Street Pier, which celebrates its official opening on Friday May 7. When approached by Dexus to set up shop at the riverside strip, Adam and Dave saw an opportunity to be a part of the new wave of Eagle Street hospitality – joining the likes of Naga Thai, COPPA, Fatcow Steak & Lobster and Opa Bar + Mezze as exciting arrivals.
City Winery occupies a space previously home to Nagomi, though a refurbishment effort has resulted in a sophisticated aesthetic switch. The venue is a hybrid of City Winery’s Edward Street cellar door and the crew’s Newstead wine bar and eatery Carl’s – wine remains the focus, but a food menu offers an extra dynamic for city dwellers to enjoy. A lengthy wine bar dominates the interior (a 16-seat private-dining space sits to one side), with a collection of tables sprawling out onto Eagle Street’s paved terrace (with a capacity sitting around 60 seats). The bar stocks Gerler’s full range of small-batch wines (approaching 18 varieties), each made from grapes sourced from Australia’s best wine-growing regions. Sauvignon blanc from Adelaide Hills share shelf space with robust grenache from McLaren Vale – even City Winery’s recent forays into pet-nats and skin-contact white are up for quaffing. A cluster of barrels will be used to make some drops exclusive to Eagle Street. Those that don’t drink wine are still welcome – the bar also stocks local craft beers, spirits and even a cheeky cocktail or two.
In the kitchen, head chef Kel Dawson (ex-sAme sAme) has collaborated with executive chef Travis Crane on a menu that continues City Winery’s paddock-to-plate and nose-to-tail ethos, but with a seafood-forward selection tailored to suit the venue’s riverside locaiton. The menu encompasses the likes of charcuterie and raw dishes (house-made mortadella and wild shot venison pastrami), snacks (carrot ‘Dagwood Dog’ with carrot ketchup), small plates (beetroot scotch egg with smoked macadamia and Murray cod colcannon with smoked-potato puree), large plates (grass-fed beef short rib and hot-smoked market fish) and desserts (Summerland camel-milk marshmallow with puffed brown rice and feijoa ice-cream). Moving forward, the location will also host wine-blending workshops, food-and-wine pairing experiences and wine-tasting sessions led by City Winery’s vino-savvy staff.
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