Marion Wine Bar
On Gertrude Street Fitzroy, Melbourne’s oldest suburb, the streets and bluestone laneways were once home to uncouth drinking holes and “houses of ill repute.” No longer, thanks to restaurateur Andrew McConnell’s fourth and latest venture in the neighbourhood: Marion Wine Bar.
The design concept blends the imperfect roughness of original features with beautifully-crafted fittings, shapes and textures. A total look and feel that, according to McConnell, “deformalises the experience”.
Spanning two shopfronts on the corner of Gertrude and Deadman’s Lane, the room naturally divides into two parts. Both rooms offer a mixture of seating, standing and leaning space, with plenty of curb-side spots too.
A curved bar creates a conversation point between the guests and the open kitchen, inviting patrons to be an active part of the dining experience. Ceiling-high wine racks emphasise the owner’s intent of wine first, food second. The design draws on the aesthetic of Wabi Sabi, incorporating original white-washed brick walls and the existing concrete floor untouched since its days as a metal plating factory.
The emphasis then turns to polished, clean-lined craftsmanship, with stylishly curved fixtures and rich textures of leather, dark wood and copper which The Australian describes as “effortlessly stylish”. Ultimately, Marion passes the essential test for a new Melbourne restaurant venture. The place is packed.