I do cherish the rare opportunities I get to head back to my hometown in Sydney, which I was able to last month. A chance to lap up the incomparable quality of life that one acknowledges and appreciates significantly more when living in the
Northern Hemisphere. Sydneysiders certainly do know how to live well, with quality and simplicity always at the forefront. This is reflected in many facets, from the abundance of fine quality food available anywhere with a commercial kitchen, to the sleek, polished fashion styles adorning every trendy street through to the timeless and minimal yet high quality interiors across both residential and commercial spaces.
‘Less is more’ seems to have evolved into an unwritten philosophy for Sydney living and style. It thus comes as rather a surprise to see Manly Wine bar open their doors along the picturesque promenade of Manly beach, for behind those doors lie a stimulating plethora of eclecticism.
Under the Gazebo group whose existing establishments include the ‘Gazebo Wine Bar’ and’ The Winery’, both in the hip Eastern suburb of Surry Hills, the team has never been one to shy away from print, texture and vivid colour. Each venue comprises its’ own signature mish-mash of styles, albeit with fairly definitive concepts. It is a look that comes in small doses however in the otherwise sleek faces of Sydney’s interior design, for this reason, I consider it a welcoming injection of freshness that is no doubt turning heads on the Northern Beaches.
Manly Wine has notably taken its sought-after, al fresco, ocean-front surroundings into consideration, tailoring the space accordingly. Generous, white bi-fold doors allow for optimum views of the beach a mere few metres away and ensures patrons can soak up the last of the afternoon sun rays, sipping a chilled glass of something from the extensive wine list.
Upon entering the space, my sandy, ocean-salted self is transported from beach to an exciting, retro-style garden party to which one can’t help but want an invite.
Candy pink flamingos frame the entrance, perching proudly and unknowingly reeling you into the sensory overload inside. Fellow accomplice peacocks are suspended above along with healthily flowering hanging pots. Elaborately printed African-inspired tiles fill the walls, while banquette seating is broken up with vintage-style cushioned chairs, each uniquely and individually hand-picked.
The space comprises several different areas; each aptly named and dedicated to catering for certain occasions. The ‘Golden Booth’ encompasses a generous, circular booth of shiny gold upholstery for the larger dining groups. The ‘Zebra room’ is a more discreet space; the animalistic theme continuing with zebra-print poufs dotted around underneath a leafy, jungle-like wall of foliage.
Reassuringly, the animated venue has not fallen into the trap of style over substance whereby abandoning its’ primary fulfilment – The outlandish themed spaces are accompanied by a dedicated ‘wine room’; backed up with an abundant and refined wine list and a floor-to-ceiling cellar.
Manly Wine bar is not only a sightly spectacle, either – the menu speaks modern-Australian/European cuisine, highlighting regional seafood with fusions of fresh, punchy flavours. With staff who almost reflect the splendour of the surroundings in their personalities and hospitality; the entire experience at this new beach-side hotspot is a delight.
Whilst the trend of eclecticism is becoming somewhat saturated in some of the comparable commercial venues of London, the tropical themes that encompass the signature Gazebo team’s look across it’s Sydney venues works a treat. Perhaps the colourful clutter here does not cross the line into claustrophobic overkill as the spaces are enhanced by the regular doses of sunshine that the city is blessed with the majority of the year. They have managed to mix, match and master the feeling of ‘fun’ while upholding an openness and airiness, all the while maintaining a sophistication that is expected of Sydney-siders and adhering to the criteria their lifestyles demand.