Stand-out: The tiled bar at Smithward.
Stand-out: The tiled bar at Smithward. Photo: Wayne Taylor

48 Smith Street Collingwood, Victoria 3066

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Opening hours Wed-Fri 5-11pm, Sat-Sun 3-11pm
Features Licensed
Prices Cheap (mains under $20)
Phone No phone

Ho hum, another cool wine bar in Collingwood, this time in SoGer, south of Gertrude Street. But wait, Smithward stands out from the pack. It's keeping it simple with a stripped back, understated room and a handful of round marble tables topped with flickering candles.

The tiled bar pours just three reds, three whites, a Beechworth rosé and a King Valley sparkling, all from Victoria. There's a martini, a negroni, one tap of Wolf of the Willows XPA. That's it, and it's all you need.

David Bowie jangles on the stereo, the service is twinkly-eyed and engaging. Most excellently there's raclette melted to order, mild cheese oozed directly from the wheel onto buttery boiled spuds with tart cornichon pickles on the side. Outrageous. There's also sharp charcuterie, with fresh sourdough baguettes baked in house.

The raclette and potatoes.
The raclette and potatoes. Photo: Wayne Taylor

Five years in the planning, it was inspired by a London venue that owners Graham Hill and Georgina Russell fell in love with many moons ago.

There's a lot of love here – it's the kind of fantasy bar opened by people with a dream. And there's nothing ho hum about that.

Drink this Dinny Goonan 2014 riesling, $12
Eat this Raclette and potatoes, $15
Say this "I need more melted cheese in my life"
Know this The owners found the place on Gumtree