Good Gilbert is the kind of local we all wish we had, with an exciting and well-priced wine list, en pointe simple food and uber-friendly but deeply knowledgeable crew. It’s the platonic ideal of a local wine bar.
Good Gilbert owner Wilson Shawyer spent nearly ten years working in London, his experience shaped by time spent in the legendary Corbin & King group. With an eye to one day opening his own venue, he set about decoding the ingredient list of a successful hospitality venue. “This taught me never to have a concept and force it into a space,” he says, “to see what a neighbourhood current has and what is missing.”
Enter Good Gilbert. This corner bar opposite the grand heritage Capri Cinema (it’s the corner of Goodwood Road and Gilbert Street) on the southwest edge of the city is an ode to good local living. Shawyer and his wife Isabelle arrived in Adelaide and established a small espresso bar called Commute in the Adelaide railway station. Shawyer also managed Hellbound Wine Bar by night, where he met and served the who’s who of local winemakers and wine lovers.
“The decision to open my own venue was simple,” Shawyer says. “After years of working for both a big group and smaller independents, I wanted to showcase my own creativity and create a space for people to feel welcome and comfortable and do it with professionalism and playfulness.” He saw Adelaide as the perfect place for the kind of wholesome neighbourhood venue he loved in London, and one whose rise he had observed in Australia’s eastern states.
Chef Savannah Sexton’s food offering is honest and welcoming, from classic wine bar fare to more expansive Euro-styled offerings. And that welcome extends to the interior, which is very much a hand-crafted affair with all eyes on the bar and home spun details like cork sound-tempering features – made from 6,000 hand-cut corks collected from nearby wine haunts. Local artwork completes the aesthetic.
The wine selection is extensive, exuding commitment and a sense of personal pride in the curation. “There is no big stylistic approach to my choice in wine procurement apart from accessibility,” says Shawyer. “Every week we re-write the entire wine list, and often change the by-the-glass offering twice a week. We stock a wide variety of fun wines, but also some serious hitters, from Fourrier to Armand Rousseau, to more accessible skews like Alkina, Coulter and Frederick Stevenson – something for everyone, at every price point.”
That level of detail is coupled with an air of unpretentiousness to the way wines are presented and served, which adds up to a great, all-round time. You can drink safe; you can drink on the edge, or you can drink a coffee. It’s a proper local joint whose mission is to serve the locals and welcome all-comers, no matter what.