MELBOURNE | Familiar faces from Thornbury craft beer institution Carwyn Cellars, Ben Duval and Alex Schulz, have teamed up with Carwyn Cellars owner Ben Carwyn to open a new bar just a few metres up from Carwyn, and it’s very good.
The bar is called Zaubertrank, and it’s inspired by a quirky apothecary of the same name that Duval and Schultz used to visit when they were living in Hamburg, Germany, as exchange students. The space is small, with two communal tables in the centre, smaller tables and seating around it, a colourful mural on the back wall, and an eclectic music playlist.
The focus is on German and Austrian wines, and Aussie versions of varietals from the two countries. Expect interesting wines you might not have heard of, ranging from funky to easy drinking. It’s a small list, but there’s something for everyone. To round things off, a few local craft brews, digestive, and quality non-alcoholic options that are more than an afterthought. Keep an eye out for the boys’ own wines, made in collaboration with Fin Wines.
On the food front, the menu isn’t what you might think. It’s Malaysian inspired bar snacks, riffing on the kind of things that Schultz encountered working in the the bars, hotels and country clubs of Kuala Lumpur. Think Ikan Bilis, butter and egg floss fried school prawns, and fried on-the-bone ‘boxing’ chicken. The one German thing on the menu is curry knackwurst. Similar to currywurst, it’s a fried north German sausage sliced and served with a curry-mustard mayo. It’s very addictive.
881 High Street
Wed – Sat: 5:30pm to 11:00pm
Sun: 12:00pm to 5:00pm