A small part of us never left Hawthorn’s Nevermind bar. We’re still there rocking Wednesday night trivia, wearing questionable fedoras and knocking back strange blue cocktails like it’s 2006. The less said about the goatees the better.
Well the owners of Nevermind have teamed up with a few of the bar staff to launch a new venture, just around the corner. It’s called Luton Lane Wine Bar.
Think of this place like Nevermind for grown-ups. Instead of squishy mismatched couches that swallow you whole, there’s monochrome bar stools, rippling marble and smooth hip-hop from the turntable in the corner. Co-owner Bodhi Bailey’s mum designed the fit-out, and she’s managed to inject some character into a blank space beneath an apartment complex.
As you’d expect, the Luton Lane wine cellar is well-stocked. 120+ bottles in fact, picked out by co-owner Cameron Jackson. There isn’t a dedicated somm, but who cares? All the owners know a good drop when they taste it. These are the guys that started the “$600 cheeseburgers with a free bottle of Penfolds” deals back in 2015 (you’d be surprised how often that worked).
Expect local bottles like Beechworth’s Golden Ball or Rusden Dristsand GSM from the Barossa, plus interesting international labels like California’s Fritz Underground Winery. A lot of the by-the-glass options come from western Europe. If you’re feeling cocktails instead, they’re also stocking a select range from the Everleigh Bottling Co.
Often with wine bars, it all comes down to the food. Cheese plates and charcuterie are non-negotiable, but what if you feel like something more than a nibble?
Luton’s got that front covered. In fact, the menu’s pretty extensive. We’re a sucker for charred chorizo skewers, but you can also get Brussel sprouts topped with manchego-pecorino custard, tinned Spanish sardines, tiny jamon pintxos bites or winter warmers like the Dutch Carrots (charred wild carrots topped with chickpea and buckwheat crumble).
The thing about barflies is this: they get older. So the crowd who used to smoke rollies at Nevermind back in the early 00s, they’re now 30+. They’ve probably got kids of their own. And they care about different things: good conversation, a reasonable music volume, and wine that doesn’t come from bags.
Luton Lane Wine Bar is for them—a grown-up bar for grown-ups who never left Nevermind behind.
Image credit: Jenna Fahey-White