Gertrude Street Enoteca has closed

Published on 23 July 2020

Photo: Fitzroy wine bar Gertrude Street Enoteca (credit: James Broadway)

James Broadway and Brigitte Hafner remember the Fitzroy institution they founded together.

It’s with sadness that we announce the end of the Gertrude Street Enoteca.

The Enoteca was unique. It opened in 2004, our first foray into business together, with an amazing and personal interior design and a belief that our ideas about hospitality would work. These ideas had been garnered from the many influences we were privy to in Melbourne over the years, but they were untested just the same. It was a leap of faith.

Physically the Enoteca first started to take shape in notes and sketches on napkins over conversations over wine and music that would extend into the very wee hours with the third member of the creative team – our friend, the architect and musician Colin Hopkins.

It reflected a journey to Barcelona where the ideas we’d had floating around in our own heads seemed to find form both in the late-night tapas bars and equally in the revelation of the Barcelona Pavilion. It was always an idea that embraced design, music and light as fundamental tenets of hospitality.

The people who worked with us in the Enoteca over the years formed an extraordinary collection of individuals who we always invited to work with us on the basis that they would bring something of themselves to the Enoteca, because our hospitality was to be based on the personal, the responsive and the idea that the team’s own intelligence would be the basis of their relationship with our customers.

We thank every single person that ever worked with us on the team, supplied us with wine and food or just embraced our offering as if it were their own home. We are saddened that anniversaries can no longer happen at the Enoteca, but we leave with the joy of knowing how many people began relationships in our beautiful space and how much it has meant to the many regulars for whom it has been their “third space” – the place they chose to live the best part of their day. We will miss the travellers, the solo diners, the artists and the homeless who always felt they could find a welcome at our place.

Because we close at a time that makes it hard to celebrate physically, we are committed to writing our history and creating a book that remembers our favourite stories, wines, recipes and people. And when that is done, we will have a worthy party and drink to 17 irreplaceable years on Gertrude Street, Fitzroy.

Within this sadness there is still joy. You can find us working together now at Tedesca Osteria, examining the same core ideas and philosophies that have always driven us, but in the much richer context of a farm restaurant on the Mornington Peninsula. We hope to welcome you there again as soon as we are able.

By James Broadway and Brigitte Hafner

Tedesca Osteria, 1175 Mornington-Flinders Rd, Red Hill, tedesca.com.au

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