The Ugly Duckling has arrived on Swan Street, adding to Richmond’s ever-growing drinking scene. This intimate wine and cocktail bar has taken up residence on the site of one of Melbourne’s first department stores – known as “Ball’s Corner” – and has been fitted out by interior-design firm Hecker Guthrie. 

A subtly lit entrance and monolithic bar extends into a light-filled space, offset by a central glass atrium. Hamish Guthrie of Hecker Guthrie describes it as “all that is quintessentially Melbourne… clean, yet theatrical design,
with nods to the past and a touch of nature, designed to mimic the natural feel of a conservatory”. 

If you are drinking wine there are more than 100 varieties on offer, with plenty available by the glass. But it would be a shame not to order a seasonal cocktail poured by barman Nick Selvadurai (formerly of Melbourne’s Cookie). Our eye’s on the Pavlova Fizz: Tanqueray gin, sour apple liqueur, kiwifruit syrup, egg white, lime juice, orange bitters and vanilla sugar.

As an accompaniment there’s antipasti such as an artisanal salumi plate and black truffle potato chips. For after, handmade chocolates infused with Mitchelton Wines.

The Ugly Duckling | 238 Swan Street, Richmond 

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