For a bar smack bang on Newtown’s electric King Street, She Loves You keeps a low profile.
It isn’t hidden away like a speakeasy, but it has an air of mystery—the sort that can only be achieved by not having a web presence in 2018. Yep. She Loves You doesn’t have an official website or a Facebook page, making it kind of hard to scope out before heading there in person. Fortunately, I’ve stepped in and done the hard yards for you.
But even without an Insta feed crafted to make as all thirsty, it seems people who love wine have heard of She Loves You. And that's probably because this super low-key spot is helmed by a star of Sydney’s wine scene.
Part-owner Sophie Otton is a legendary sommelier and wine consultant—you'll also catch her pouring deliciousness into your glass at Potts Point institution, Billy Kwong. Prior to that, she decked out award-winning wine lists at Rockpool Bar and Grill. Simply put, you're in for a real treat if Sophie Otton has picked your wine.
When it comes to the vibe, She Loves You is humble, warm and doesn’t rely on gimmicks to prove it’s cool – which, of course, it is. It’s intimate; the kind of place you could sit for hours and really (properly) catch up with mates. The 30-seat venue is quiet but not stagnant thanks to nostalgic background music that will transport you to 1920s Paris.
I tell part-owner and barman Stephen Smooker it feels like the kind of place one might come to plot a bank heist. He seems to be on board with this analogy.
At She Loves You, the menu is short. There are three whites, three reds, a sparkling and a rose. The list changes roughly every few weeks, depending on what’s available. The wines are chosen with a few key things in mind: taste (obviously), price (the wines sit around $12 and $15 per glass), and process (all the wines are low or non-interventionist).
Beyond that, there’s a range of whiskeys, beers and ciders, a few craft-style soft drinks and a cocktail list that’ll crush your midweek blues and lift your spirits. The running theme here is that each unique cocktail showcases a native ingredient, including pepper leaf, desert lime and Davidson Plum.
She Loves You doesn’t serve food, but it’s a rare gem that allows you to purchase and bring in a meal from the surrounding restaurants. Fancy a cheese plate, for instance? Bring one in from Nonna Gio’s next door. The Pastizzi Café is literally across the street.
The goal of this small bar is to keep things as low-fuss and as community-oriented as possible. Eventually, the owners (Sophie, Stephen and Martin Corcoran, of Adelaide’s Peel St) hope to do away with their already small wine list and instead chat to their customers, opening and pouring bottles free form.
It’s old school, it’s relaxed and with a pace all of its own, it’s a bit different to everything else out there.
For everyone in need of a break from the cocktail-sipping life, we tried non-alcoholic spirits and they weren't half bad.
Image credit: Rebecka Davidsson.