Blending the imperfect roughness of original features with beautifully-crafted fittings, shapes and textures, the rough and ready past of Melbourne’s oldest suburb is no more thanks to restaurateur Andrew McConnell’s fourth and latest venture in the neighbourhood: Marion Wine Bar

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. 

The client’s vision for Mar­i­on was very spe­cif­ic with regards to the kind of envi­ron­ment they want­ed to cre­ate for their guests. It was very impor­tant that Mar­i­on felt estab­lished, warm and wel­com­ing; a neigh­bour­hood local. 

Fitzroy, Wurund­jeri Woi Wur­rung Land



Floor Area


A total look and feel that, accord­ing to McConnell, defor­malis­es the experience”.

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 con­cept draws on the aes­thet­ic of Wabi Sabi and the char­ac­ter­is­tics of asym­me­try, sim­plic­i­ty, econ­o­my, mod­esty and inti­ma­cy with an appre­ci­a­tion of nat­ur­al objects and process­es. The design incor­po­rates orig­i­nal white washed brick walls and the exist­ing 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”.

The envi­ron­ment is left unclut­tered, with room for staff and patron move­ment through the venue, a fea­ture that encour­ages a pro­gres­sive and social engage­ment. The infor­mal­i­ty of the expe­ri­ence, the oppor­tu­ni­ty to engage with knowl­edge­able staff and the pre­mi­um food and wine offer­ing ensures repeat vis­its. Mar­i­on nev­er sits still. 

Ulti­mate­ly, Mar­i­on pass­es the essen­tial test for a new Mel­bourne restau­rant ven­ture. The place is packed.