Food News

Coming Soon to Melbourne: Bud of Love, an online wine store becomes a wine bar and bottle shop

What started as a lockdown side project is now graduating to IRL status. When it opens in Footscray, Bud of Love will be an intimate little wine bar, with bottles available to drink in or take away.

Photo: courtesy of Bud of Love

In her day job, Farah Sabet works in marketing. But like the rest of us, when lockdowns were a fact of life, she found herself with more time on her hands than usual. So she channeled her passion for wine to start Bud of Love, an eye-catching online wine shop selling affordable, interesting wines that offered delivery throughout Melbourne. It was a hit.

And unlike many lockdown-born side hustles, some of which have receded just as quickly as they came, Bud of Love is going better than ever – proving that it’s more than just a one-hit lockdown-wonder. Now, later on this month (if all goes to plan), Bud of Love is evolving into something new: a natural-wine focused bar and bottle shop, right in the heart of Footscray’s Barkly Street.

“I think a lot of people are now focusing on what makes them happy,” Sabet says. “In lockdown, we really did have to look into ourselves to figure out what we want in life.”

“For me this is literally a dream come true – I never could have imagined that a little creative project during lockdown would turn into a physical store. It’s just amazing.”

Bud of Love’s Barkly Street shopfront.

(Photo: courtesy of Bud of Love)

Footscray, where Sabet lives, is an exciting choice for a wine bar. While there are a number of excellent restaurants in the area – particularly those belonging to the suburb’s prominent Ethiopian and Vietnamese communities – the drinking scene is less dynamic. There are large and beloved bars such as Mr West and Baby Snakes, but there are fewer intimate options.

Bud of Love will be a welcome addition to Barkly Street. The tight space has a max capacity of 30, but expect there to be about 15 to 20 seats when Bud of Love opens (“I don’t want it to be super loud or super crowded,” Sabet says). The centrepiece of the room will be a large communal table. Sabet’s partner, a stonemason, has made red marble countertops for the bar.

Sabet’s brother Youssef, a hospo pro, will be running the floor, while Sabet will continue to focus on the wine buying and marketing side of the business. There won’t be a food menu, it’ll all be about the drinks. But if you feel like eating, bringing food in from any nearby Barkly Street business will be warmly encouraged. There’ll also be plenty of wines to purchase and take home – a physical shopfront for the previously online-only brand.

“I’m not really stocking wines that have been stored in a cellar for 20 to 30 years,” Sabet says. “I respect people that do but it’s just not me.”

“You’ll buy a bottle here on the way to a dinner party or a friend’s house, and you can just drink it and enjoy it – it’s not intimidating to anyone.”

Photo: courtesy of Bud of Love

The colour palette and general mood of the space takes its cues from the aesthetic of Baz Luhrmann’s 90s hit Romeo + Juliet. “It’s all about very romanticized colours,” Sabet says. “Deep reds and browns, candles everywhere – that kind of vibe.”

The Bud of Love name is also inspired by Romeo + Juliet. It derives from the movie quote, which itself is from the Shakespeare original: “This bud of love, by summer’s ripening breath, may prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.”

“It’s a line from that movie, and for some reason it’s always stuck with me,” Sabet says. “I wrote it in my phone, no joke like 10 years ago, and thought ‘somehow this is going to come back into my life,'”.

It did, and two years on from Bud of Love’s founding, the business continues to bloom.

Bud of Love will open later on this month.

Bud of Love

251 Barkly Street, Footscray, Vic


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