She Loves You

A Newtown wine bar with creative cocktails from a top Sydney sommelier.
Marissa Ciampi
May 01, 2023


If there's one wine palate you can trust, it's Sophie Otton's — owner of She Loves You. Having over 20 years in the wine industry, her resume boasts wine director at Sydney's Rockpool Bar and Grill and, as of 2016, sommelier at Billy Kwong. Plus, she has been a wine consultant, writer and judge, too.

And, even she'll admit she has a pretty good palate. "Wine knowledge can fade over time and it's easy to forget, but my weapon is my palate," says Otton. "I've come to learn I'm good at selecting delicious wines...that's my strength."

Otton brings all that expertise to the inner west, with She Loves You — Newtown's ever-evolving wine bar focusing on minimal intervention and quality drops at affordable prices. The venture is a collaboration between Otton and her partner Stephen Smooker, along with Martin Corcoran (owner of Adelaide's Peel Street).

The team took over the old Doris and Beryl's Bridge Club & Teahouse digs back in August 2017 and have been gradually converting the 30-seat small bar into She Loves You since.

She Loves You - sydney bar - wine

"It's been a slow transformation as it took a while for us to get know the venue and understand what we had," says Otton. "Eventually we started to replace the shadow box on the wall with our own items, mainly old vintage glass bottles that have the whole shipwrecked and washed up feel. It ties in really nicely with the wine and what we're trying to do here."

Otton's specialty is alternative varieties that showcase the winemakers' strengths. Think wines that are handpicked with no additives, preservatives or filtration. Oh, and there's no wine list at She Loves You, either.

"I've done so many wine lists in my lifetime, I really wanted to eliminate the need for one in my own bar," says Otton. "Instead, it's constantly evolving and I suppose the end goal will be to just open, taste and pour wines as we find them instead of having a set menu. To fit the right wines for the right people depending on how we feel and who's there at the time. It'll be free-style, really."

She Loves You - sydney bar - wine

This 'not-a-wine-list' will focus on Australian producers with a "smattering" of European influence — all with a focus on high quality and at an accessible price point that doesn't "drag you down financially".

This minimal intervention ethos extends to the bar at She Loves You, which still remains largely unchanged. "We're working on developing the bar's character and offerings rather than its logistics for now, though interior changes will come later on," says Otton. "It's quite a personal, intimate space, and with table service we have a lot of interaction with the guests. We are really looking for the bar to be an extension of your lounge room."

Expect an intimate experience with no menu in sight, the team will serve you up something perfect based on your taste. You might see some light snacks but drinks definitely take centre stage here.

Images: Katia Monte and Jun Chen


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