Melbourne’s most promising new bar has opened in Brunswick West

Published on 27 October 2021

Photo: Shabooh Shoobah

Brunswick’s forgotten cousin gets a glow-up from the couple that brought you Heartattack and Vine.

Picture yourself in Brunswick. You’re on colourful, bustling Sydney Road. See the session drinkers, the cafe lingerers, the bridal shoppers. See a suburb spoilt for choice. Now invert that picture. The Wario to Brunswick’s Mario, Brunswick West hasn’t traditionally screamed “wine bar”. Nor “bar”, for that matter. But it now has Shabooh Shoobah: quite possibly Melbourne’s most promising bar opening in, well, we all know how long. 

Set in an old butcher on Melville Road, Shabooh Shoobah is the brainchild of Hootan Heydari and Emily Bitto (Heartattack and Vine), and Sam Steck (ex-head chef at Neighbourhood Wine), who here has been shoehorned into the venue’s very small kitchen. Vintage lights and vinyl by the crateful (the bar is named after the classic INXS record) set the dial to cosy, with a marble bar and red banquettes adding a touch of suburban opulence to what is otherwise a comfortably understated fit-out.

They’re calling it a neighbourhood bar with a focus on wine, and that focus is split roughly halfway between local Victorian and European picks, with enough by-the-glass action to reward repeat visits amongst a solid collection of bottles. That's a Chalmers Vermentino from Heathcote in one hand, a Domaine Serol pét-nat rosé from Haute-Loire in the other. For now, a single beer tap runs the ever-agreeable Coburg Lager, with a few cocktails and non-alcoholics available for good measure.

Seasonal snacks from the aforementioned micro-kitchen are hearty enough to make a meal with, and a glance at the menu suggests you’ll want to come hungry. We’re talking Polish sausage with juniper mustard and chicory, we’re talking boquerones with fennel, orange and caper leaves, but we’re mostly talking manchego, artichoke and quail egg gildas.

They’re calling it a neighbourhood bar with a focus on wine. We’re calling it a boon for the Brunswick hinterlands. 

Shabooh Shoobah, Wed-Sun, 59A Melville Rd, Brunswick West, 03 9917 2702,, @shaboohshoobahmelbourne

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