The clue's in the title with Cumulus Up, Andrew McConnell's lofty wine bar. It's upstairs, above its sister restaurant Cumulus Inc.
It's a charming spot really. Rocking kind of a European vibe, with its candescent Laguna lighting (by Matteo Thun) and parquet wooden floors. The brick walls and hundreds of bottles on display add to that feeling of warmth and sophistication. What else would you expect from the guy that gave us Supernormal and Cutler & Co.
Bring a group of friends or get cosy with your partner while you sip on some of the best wine in the world. Literally. The sommeliers here have sourced bottles from everywhere. Hefty Spanish reds, Argentine Malbec, South African Pinotage, Australian Shiraz. Just order up some nibbles and ask your waiter "What's good?" They'll handle the rest.
Cumulus Up opens its sultry doors between 4pm and 1am, but we'd recommend getting in early and settling in. It gets pretty busy late at night.
The big show-stopper of this place is the climate-controlled cellar. That thing houses hundreds of eclectic wines, focussing on the best examples of vintage, variety, style and region. There are plenty of ‘old world’ bottles available if you want to spend an arm and a leg. But if you’re looking for something a little more on budget, there’s plenty of amazing ‘new world’ stuff to chug down as well (don’t actually chug them though. It’s good wine, not Passion Pop).
And what would fine wine be without damn fine food to match? Cumulus Up. has a surprisingly big menu, carefully designed by McConnell and Sam Cheetham. Expect a mix of small and large plates, including Pacific oysters, beef tartare, duck waffles, cheeseburgers and house-smoked octopus, just to name a few. If you’d rather sit back and have the ordering done for you (you’re lazy), there’s a rotating chef’s selection menu that showcases some insanely good raw seafood.
This weekend though, it's all about the wine. Cumulus Up is hosting one of its monthly City Cellar Door tasting sessions.
These things are free—the bar just asks for a gold coin donation, which goes to the good folks at OzHarvest. You can rock up, meet local winemakers, chat to the Cumulus Up sommeliers and (yes) drink as much wine as you want. This weekend it's all about The Yarra Valley, and includes a few boutique spirits and craft beers as well. Anything you taste can be bought by the bottle and taken home. It's all kicking off Saturday 4 August, 12pm – 4pm. Did we mention they're doing suckling pig rolls?
See you guys there. We'll be the ones drinking the wine.
Image credit: Kristoffer Paulsen