Ph: 09 360 1901
224 Ponsonby Road
Ponsonby , 1011
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|TUE||4:00pm - 11:00pm|
|WED||4:00pm - 11:00pm|
|THU||4:00pm - 11:00pm|
|FRI||4:00pm - 11:00pm|
|SAT||4:00pm - 11:00pm|
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Few things in life bring us more joy than cosying up with a glass of wine, and one of our fave spots to indulge in this simple pleasure is Est. 1901—a cool but not-so-new kid on the Ponsonby block.
Est. 1901 officially opened back in 2018 but with Covid and a thousand-odd lockdowns to consider since then, you'd be forgiven for not having had it on your radar. No matter, now's a great time to get acquainted 'cos they've just thrown a new owner into the mix and she's shaking things up, big time. We're talking about Evelin Stjepanek, who joins two existing business partners on the venture and is bringing with her an impressive list of industry credentials (think Annabel’s Wine Bar, Candela, Pici, and Daphne's Taverna).
An Argentinian native, Evelin is incredibly knowledgeable about wine and carries an infectious enthusiasm for the topic (honestly, if this woman ever starts running wine classes, sign us up). As such, the bar—which was previously cocktail-driven—will now have much more of a focus on vino (while still retaining a solid cocktail offering) and we're here for it.
Expect a thoughtful selection of local and international drops, with each bottle—be it old-world or new—carefully chosen for your sipping pleasure. There's a particular focus on small producers from around New Zealand, specialising in organic and biodynamic varietals. This is the part where we tell you they'll also be running wine takeovers with local producers, as part of their monthly Sunday sessions (perhaps those wine classes aren't such a silly idea after all!).
As for the cocktails, there are plenty of those to go around (12 in fact), including the sublime Royal Empress—however like any good bar, they have all the usual suspects on tap, should you wish to veer from the menu.
The food has also taken a (delicious) new direction, and in true wine bar fashion, comprises a short but sweet selection of nibbles to share. The vibe here is distinctly European, with Italian cheeses (including a 'drunken' version that has been aged in prosecco), Meditteranean cured meats, olives, chicken liver parfait, pecorino fries and sardines all making an appearance, along with what is set to become the most-ordered item on the menu—the bread with vegan truffle butter (which FYI, Evelin makes herself). Oh la frickin' la.
Last but certainly not least, let's talk interiors. This is one of the most charming, character-filled spaces we've seen in some time, thanks largely to its age (the name is a hint as to just how old it is). Think old-fashioned artworks, exposed brick and wooden furnishings, and even the OG toilet (trust us, it's a talking point). There are cosy elevated seats down one side, tables overlooking Ponsonby Road, and a cute parlour in the back, but if you wanna be that person that makes all the other punters jelly, we recommend nabbing yourself one of the luxe green armchairs. Situated beside a roaring fireplace, looked down upon by a portrait of Queen Victoria, these are quite literally the best seats in the house.
And for those wishing to use the bar as a daytime escape as much as an evening one—there are plans to open from 11am in the future with a special menu of filter coffee, cake, and mimosas. Hell. Yes. Watch this space and we'll let you know when it happens!
Est. 1901 is an age-old spot ushering in an exciting new era, and one we're stoked to be a part of. Find it on the main strip in Ponsonby, right next door to Prego.
Image credit: Eric Jang.