Moving from their Potts Point location to the CBD after nearly a decade, Nick Hildebrandt and Brent Savage have recast Monopole from a moody wine bar/restaurant to a bright and airy one, though with their daring culinary and vinous hallmarks unchanged.
Nick Hildebrandt and Brent Savage are a formidable duo, founding landmark restaurants Bentley Restaurant + Bar, Yellow and Cirrus, as well as their wine bar-slash-restaurant, Monopole. Hildebrandt is one of Sydney’s most celebrated and influential wine minds, crafting lists over the years that have pushed boundaries like few others, while Savage has very much had the same level of impact with his genre-defying cuisine.
Monopole’s first iteration was opened in 2012, housed in a darkly toned terrace house on Macleay Street in Potts Point, with the tone of the exterior continuing into the Pascal Gomes-McNabb designed interior, with a pensive mood of dark timbers, pockets of localised lighting and industrial metals. However, Hildebrandt and Savage decided to up sticks in 2020 and move Monopole. “We’ve been wanting to move Monopole to the CBD for a while and were offered a great site that is ideally suited to the evolution of Monopole,” says Hildebrandt.
Gomes-McNabb may have taken a piece of Melbourne with her when she conceived Monopole’s original design, with the sunny, coastal interiors that Sydney is famous for shunned for a moodier feel. But she has taken a different approach to the Curtain Place site, with American oak furniture and a light-filled interior that is often open air, too, with bi-fold windows very much bringing the outside in, while bespoke blackened steel mobiles, with an Alexander Calder vibe, hover above.
The wine bar tag is taken very seriously here, with the extensive and creative dining menu supplemented by classic wine bar fare: house-made charcuterie and pickles, artisan cheeses, both local and imported, as well as wine-friendly small and share plates. And with Hildebrandt’s list running to over 500 bins, there’s plenty to choose from, with a strong representation of organic, biodynamic and preservative-free wines. It is a list that embraces the classic and the avant-garde in equal measure, just as Hildebrandt always has. There are also around 30 wines offered by the glass and carafe.