The vault is empty, the bank has closed and Newcastle's trendiest wine bar is open… and for wine enthusiasts this couldn’t have happened soon enough.
The Reserve Wine Bar exploded onto the scene like a shaken Champagne bottle in October 2013, giving Newcastle a wine venue the likes of which had not been seen before. Since then they have been restless in their pursuit of all things vinous; offering the city over thirty different wine dinners as well as tastings and unique one off events.
Housed in the former ANZ building on the corner of Hunter and Bolton streets, the 120-capacity wine bar with its high ceilings, locked vault and wrought iron stools is Newcastle’s fist grape emporium, a place to worship wine in all its guises.
Big on buzz, high on charm but refreshingly devoid of pretention, the wine list at 250 strong, focuses on the best in NSW and Australia as well as some tempting offerings from around the globe including an extensive vertical of Lake’s Folly dating back two decades. The large by the glass selection (over 26), changes regularly ensuring regulars always find somthing new to drink.
For those less familiar with wine, there is no posturing here and the very friendly staff are always on hand to help with your wine selection. For those who are more familiar with their wines - this is pure heaven! Explaining the list in more detail, wine director and (Cork Dork) Patrick Haddock says that it’s not easy building a wine list from scratch as you have to be all things to all people but at the same time you have to be true to yourself.
''We wanted the Reserve to reflect our regionand NSW. It’s not a parochial approach, it’s more a case of sharing the excitement of what’s in our backyard'' says Patrick. "Our own backyard (including the Hunter Valley and further afield) as always of paramount importance. That’s why when you read our list you’ll see NSW and the ACT represented fist, then the rest of Australia and various treats from around the globe. We want people to taste and try wines that they’ve not encountered before because life’s too short to drink the same wine or even worse - bad wine."
When it comes to food, chef Wayne Isaac has designed a small plates menu to complement the wine selection which is just perfect for grazing and sharing but could just as easily become a full meal. Similar to the wine, the local theme has continued here with only produce and producers within a 100 kilometre radius of Newcastle being sourced.
Relax, take a stool at the bar, or sink into a lounge, drink what you want and discover your vinous groove.
The Reserve with its spectacular wine list and wonderfully crafted events gets a massive thumbs up and has put Hunter Street Mall back on the map as one of the best places to go in Newcastle for a great night out.