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Wakefield’s Bar and Wine Room is the newest addition to the already bustling corner of the Ainslie shops.
After all, it’s only fitting that if the corner of Edgar Street in Ainslie has Edgar’s Inn, then the corner of Wakefield Gardens has Wakefield’s Bar & Wine Room.
From Saturday, the Frank Condi vision for the revitalisation of the Ainslie Shops comes full circle as he adds an elegant new wine bar to his busy corner empire.
Wakefield’s Bar & Wine Room will provide an intimate, warm-lit space for the Ainslie neighbourhood with a focus on Australian wines, local produce and suppliers, and live entertainment from across Canberra.
With velvet upholstery, dark polished wood and an art deco flavour, the upstairs space next to The Inn promises to be a new haunt for those who want to relax over a bottle or two while taking in spectacular views of Mount Ainslie.
According to Frank, “the opening marks the final piece of looking at Edgar’s as one big home, with a room for every mood and occasion. Our ultimate goal is to create personalised experiences for locals and travellers and be surrounded by good food and wine as they create lasting memories together.”
Pouring a diverse range of over 100 Australian wines, Wakefield’s will showcase many local Canberra winemakers from across the region including Mada, Helm and Eden Road, alongside a variety of Aussie craft beers. The bespoke cocktail menu will feature delicious creations including Wakefield’s take on an Old Fashioned with Woodford Reserve, Black Walnut bitters and demerara syrup, a smoked take on a ‘Charlie Chaplin’ with mezcal to complement the apricot brandy, sloe gin and lime and the perfect caramel espresso martini using Canberra’s own Underground Spirits caramel vodka.
Head Chef Steven Jacomos (ex- Fitzroy Town Hall Hotel Melbourne, Saint Crispin/Lupo and Qualia Resort), has created a succinct menu that champions Australia’s best seasonal produce. Think chargrilled lamb riblets, crumpets with smoked trout and bottarga, hand-rolled pasta, and finished off with apple tarte tatin for dessert.
Designed by local design firm Capezio Copeland, the interior combines industrial cues with a vintage feel, creating a space with character that fits into its leafy heritage surrounds. Natural surfaces, warm timbers and accents of burgundy and jade provide contrast to the raw and industrial building interior.
The space is anchored by a large glass-walled walk-in wine room with a variety of areas to eat, drink and socialise with the venue seating 50 guests, along with a private dining room for 20.
Frank aims for Wakefield’s to become a centre stage for local talent—from jazz, blues and soul to burlesque throughout the week.
“With international travel off the cards for the foreseeable future, we are also looking at Wakefield’s to provide an experience worthy of a trip to Canberra and we would love to encourage visitors to stay longer and explore the capital,” he said.
His love of Ainslie is evident as Frank has invested heavily in the suburban shopping strip.
Apart from Wakefield’s and The Inn, the site is home to Mama Dough, firing up freshly-made pizza in a cosy strip next door to the beloved gastropub Edgars.
“I love the idea of a suburban wine bar drawing locals, and our locals have been so supportive of the area, but I am looking to draw customers from further than Ainslie, and I want them to come from Sydney and Melbourne and Brisbane to experience something special.”
Wakefield’s Bar & Wine Room will be open Wednesday through to Saturday evenings from 5:30pm to late.
Photography by Megann Evans.