Loft Oyster and Wine Bar

date of visit:  Wednesday 22 May 2013

disclaimer: I was a guest at the Loft launch party.

how every good party should wrap up …

With licensing laws changing to accommodate small bars and an increasing number of wine bars, I think it’s obvious to all that Adelaide’s bar scene is undergoing a subtle change. While there may be some very real concerns about whether or not Adelaide can sustain all these venues, the people behind Loft Oyster and Wine Bar* certainly think it can.

Loft is a massive, first floor bar at the Morphett Street end of Gouger Street. It actually opened about a month ago and a friend hosted  his farewell drinks there a couple of weeks back. I was unable to head out that night but fortunately, karma looked on me kindly and an invitation to the official launch party landed in my inbox.

Once the issue of what to wear had been solved (and yes, if you’re heading somewhere straight from work this does represent a dilemma!), and we’d eaten some dinner, it was time for my friend and me to head to Loft.

The red carpet was out for the VIPs and we headed upstairs to be greeted with glasses of Louis Roederer Champagne. One of my biggest pet peeves of all time is people referring to random sparkling wine as Champagne. In Adelaide, of all places, we should know better. I’ve been to weddings in very flash hotels here where guests are offered “Champagne” only for it to be Australian sparkling wine (and not even locally produced). So I was thrilled that the invitation delivered on its promise, because a wine bar that messed that up would really suffer in the credibility stakes!

The bar runs along one side and the room is broken up at the far end by a circular curtain. The street facing side of the room has a balcony which was all opened up. This was fantastic because even though it was a relatively cool night, it helped keep the interior area cool and comfortable. The downside was, of course, that people were smoking on the balcony, and every now and then you’d get a breeze of slightly less than fresh air. I’m not sure how you’d fix that but maybe something the Loft management can consider is designating part of the balcony a smoking area and keeping the doors and windows there closed.

Being a launch party, I’m not in a position to comment on the usual beverage selection (or prices) but I was really impressed with a large counter which played host to an interesting and broad selection of white wines.  Someone with more than a passing interest in wine put it together:  there aren’t many venues where you can find Ducks in a Row Fiano side by side with Greywacke Wild Ferment Sauvignon Blanc and a Chablis … (name dropping over, I promise!).

Untitledunfortunately not my bar at home …

I didn’t try any of the canapés (yes, perhaps I ate too much at dinner) but my friend, purely in the interests of research and the integrity of this review, tried an oyster which received a thumbs up.

Loft was formally launched by Ben Tolstoshev of The Lane, with a very short and sweet speech that allowed everyone to get back to the serious socialising!


Loft is open Wednesday – Sunday and for wine drinkers I’d say it’s a must visit venue. For everyone else, I’d head along and check it out because you’re bound to find something you’ll enjoy.  I know I’ll be heading back to take a serious look at those white wines …

* Loft’s website is under development:  currently it’s just a landing page.

Loft Oyster and Wine Bar on Urbanspoon


date of visit: Thursday 26 April 2012

Udaberri Pintxos y Vinos is the new cool kid on Adelaide’s bar scene. It’s at the northern end of Leigh Street, and if you don’t know it’s there and you’re not looking you won’t spot it.

Wait. I knew it was there and I was looking and I didn’t spot it. Cue frantic text to Andy to double check the address …

So – if you’re wandering up and down Leigh Street you need to look out for the logo above. When we dropped in for a drink there was no big sign and the bar has an unfinished (in an intentional way) look about it. Something I very much like and something Adelaide could do with more of. If you’re bored with the homogeneity of many of Adelaide’s refurbished pubs (and I most certainly am) then Udaberri is for you.

The “pintxos” part of its name is (basically) Basque for “bar snacks” – the Udaberri menu is brief and light. You won’t be heading there for a full blown dinner*, but if you can get by on things like anchovies, peppers and cheese you will be catered for.

Drinks wise there are three beers on tap – they’re written up on the wall which suggests they might rotate. When we were there a pint of Lobethal Brewery’s Pilsner cost $9 (which seems expensive to me, but I haven’t seen the beer on tap anywhere else). The wine list has a fair range of Spanish wines (nothing too crazy) so I had a glass of Albariño which was $8.50.

At present, Udaberri has a very new vibe about it but it’s definitely a bar with great potential. Adelaide needs more bars like this, so head in for a post work drink. That way you can claim to have been drinking there from (almost) day one.

UPDATE: Following on from Celeste’s question, I emailed Udaberri and Rob, the proprietor, emailed me back. Pinxtos are $2 at present. He also sent me a copy of the current menu. Example dishes are oysters, shucked to order with Champagne vinegar – $3 each, croquetas de bacalao (salt cod croquettes) – $8, and they offer a selection of cheeses – 1 piece $9, 2 pieces $13 and 3 pieces $16.

* If you need a proper meal in the area, try Rigoni’s.

Udaberri Pintxos Y Vino on Urbanspoon

Cork Wine Cafe


date of visit: Saturday 3 March 2012

Our dinner reservation was quite late (8:30pm) so it would have been plain rude NOT to go somewhere for a drink first. Cork Wine Café has been on my radar for a while – plenty of people I follow on twitter seem to be semi-regulars there and even my parents have been.

It is one of those awesome little hole in the wall style bars. There are a few tables outside (no use in our case, as it was chucking it down) and even fewer (I think) inside. But one was free and we ducked in and nabbed our spot.

Cork is pretty trendy but not so trendy we were put off. It’s all dim lighting and dark furniture with a long bar behind which sits a really impressive array of wines. The wine list isn’t arranged by varietals (you know – “Riesling”, “Sauvignon Blanc”) it’s arranged by wine styles, so if you fancy a “textural white” you know where to go. Initially I was really sceptical about this but I stopped my huffing and puffing for long enough to read the menu (sorry, wine list) and then I just got really excited.

Cork has loads of wine by the glass and the bar also offers tasting flights – if you simply cannot choose just one “textural white” then try three (in tasting measures) for a single price.

Which is what I should have done. But I was overexcited about the presence of a Picpoul de Pinet on the wine list (a grape variety from southern France which I’m pretty sure I haven’t tried before) and a grower Champagne. I was bouncing around in my seat trying to decide between the two (the price did it in the end – the Champers, at $20 a glass, was twice the price of the Picpoul). Andy’s choice of a Trumer Pils (from Austria) was a lot less traumatic.

I’m not going to write about the Picpoul (I thought it was fab) because this is a bar review. And that is what Cork is – a bar. Apparently if you turn up expecting it to be a dessert café you may get a slightly chilly reception. That was certainly not our experience – service was friendly and my parents report that the staff are knowledgeable.

As it’s a bar, there’s some very limited tapas style food available. As we were heading out for dinner, we didn’t try anything. But I’m more than happy to go back, have a glass of something interesting and sample some food.

And you know what? It won’t matter if the food is dire, because you go to Cork to drink.