If you love wild ales and funky wines and live in Sydney, you've probably set foot in an Odd Culture venue. The group is behind much-loved Sydney venues like The Duke of Enmore, The Old Fitz and Odd Culture Newtown - all of which have distinct personalities, are proudly pokie-free, and champion local and weird beers, funky and fermented foods and minimal-intervention wines.
Compared to some of the city's hospitality juggernauts, Odd Culture is relatively small. But it has certainly found its niche, and gained a loyal following of ferment enthusiasts along the way.
So much so that the group is now expanding its horizons with its first interstate venue - and it's open today, Wednesday 5 July.
The Odd Culture Group is opening its first venue in Melbourne, modelled off its eponymous Inner West bar and restaurant, Odd Culture Newtown.
Also named Odd Culture, the hybrid bar and bottle shop is housed in a heritage building and former post office on Fitzroy's lively Brunswick Street.
"In a lot of ways Melbourne is a spiritual home of Odd Culture; the original concept for the Newtown venue was born out of a trip to the grand old breweries of Belgium - but also in part inspired by small bar [and] bottle shops of Melbourne," says Odd Culture CEO James Thorpe in a statement.
Much like its Sydney counterpart, Odd Culture Fitzroy in Melbourne is an "exploration of fermentation" - think natural wine, pickled snacks, wild and rare ales and seasonal cocktails made from local ingredients and rolling ferments.
What sets it apart, though, is its format. Enter the Fitzroy venue and you're able to pick bottles straight from the shelves and fridges, much like in a regular bottle shop. Then, you can opt to to sit and drink in the cosy bar, out in the back lane beer garden, or take your swag home with you.
The bar also has a small kitchen offering top-quality and pickled snacks, such as Odd Culture's amed chicken liver pâté with potato chips and fish caramel and Cantabrian anchovies served with butter and escalot. There are also seasonal cocktails made from local ingredients and ferments, including Sour Negronis and koji-fermented Appletinis.
The Melbourne team is led by general manager Gerry Nass, who previously owned Collingwood's Robbie Burns Hotel as well as The Beresford in Sydney.
"We have chosen to open up shop on Brunswick Street because of how much we love the area. Its live music scene, the street art, the retail, and its culinary scene and nightlife. It's a small suburb but with a wide variety of local residents and we can't wait to welcome everyone in," he says.
Odd Culture in Melbourne is now open and located at 1/296 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy