A recent addition to the line of bars dotted along Gertrude Street; Bar Clarine is the sophisticated new sibling of Belle’s Hot Chicken.
It’s tiny – there are no bookings, and only room for 22 – and it is literally joined at the hip to Belle’s by an internal door. The focus is on minimal intervention and natural wine, and like Belle’s, Bar Clarine has some of the best local and international varieties on the market.
Owners, Morgan McGlone, Reno Pontonio and Miranda Campbell opened the bar to cater for natural wine lovers who’d prefer freshly shucked oysters with their French cuvee over a bowl of the cult, Nashville-style fried chicken served next door at Belle’s.
Morgan has worked as a fine dining chef at Husk in Charleston, and sources produce from local farms to create a seasonal, ever-changing menu (it’s updated every 10 days). The bar has its own Head Chef, Adam Shoebridge – a former co-worker of Morgan at Husk – who puts together dishes such as oysters served with cucumber, bay oil and white pepper, and Carolina rice cakes with boiled peanut hummus. Their dedication to offering such a sophisticated standard of fare saw them take out the Don Levy Fitzpatrick Award at the 2016 Good Food Guide Awards, which honours the unbeatable combination of restaurant-quality food in a bar setting.
There’s also a cold bar menu, offering cheeses made in house, cured meats, terrine and plenty of oysters. The bar’s expert staff will help you out with pairing dishes and wines – just ask sommelier George McCulloch, who honed his skills at Moon Under Water.
Although it’s tiny, the bar is full of natural light. The rough, white walls and exposed bluestone contrast the otherwise minimalist interior of light timber and neat seating.
Open Tuesday to Saturday from 5pm until late, Bar Clarine’s polished menu and range of natural wines is sure to please those with the most sophisticated of palates – that’s if they can get a seat.