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  1. Paski
    Photograph: Nikki To
  2. Paski Vineria Popolare
    Photograph: Maxim Boon/Time Out

Time Out Food & Drink Awards 2022: Bar of the Year

Paski Vineria Popolare captures the spirit of a European wine bar and serves it up on Oxford Street for its army of devotees

Isabelle Webster
Written by
Isabelle Webster

Oxford Street’s Paski Vineria Popolare is fabulously versatile. Whether you’re keen to book in and bunker down upstairs at Paski Sopra – “above” – to knock back a couple of wines and every dish on the menu, or to wander in and grab a stool downstairs for an apéro and a nibble on some charcuterie, you’re going to have a gorgeous time. 

Paski (which also wins our award for Best Wine Bar) has quickly become a Darlinghurst staple, and it’s easy to see why patrons return to the venue regularly, sometimes even twice in a week. (It’s not just to devour more of part-owner and chef Enrico Tomelleri’s pappalá – the addictive spread made of milk-soaked cod, bread and tomato.) The wines are coordinated by the other two owners, Giorgio Di Maria (Giorgio Di Maria Fun Wines) and Mattia Dicati (Vino Mito), and displayed downstairs on illuminated metal shelves, grouped by producer. The selection runs the length of the building and easily holds 450+ bottles, so you’re sure to find something to fall in love with.

The idea was to create two unique spaces on the one floorplan, says Di Maria. Upstairs is “a bit more dining, a bit more service oriented, but still unpretentious. Simple Italian, not too many ingredients, and good pasta”. Downstairs, the vibe is that of a “tight, messy, chaotic wine bar like you’d find in Paris, or Italy”. Come for a wine, stay for a while. Talk to some strangers. Eat some simple, good food. Leave happy. There’s no bookings downstairs, so diners can come and go as they please. And it’s working, according to Di Maria, with the room filling and emptying in waves while upstairs has been busy with bookings. 

Come for a wine, stay for a while. Eat some simple, good food. Leave happy 

Like everywhere, Paski’s staff have navigated the hard parts of hospitality, from inconsistencies in staffing (up until recently it’s been an all-hands-on-deck crew of friends and casual staff), last minute cancellations and expensive vegetables, but nothing that a bit of flexibility and a positive attitude couldn’t get them through. Now, the wheels are firmly on, with a regular rotation of staff, and exciting things on the horizon with plans for guest chefs, wine dinners and events, always with the intention to build and create a sense of community.

This is the kind of place where you can happily sit alone with a book on a Monday afternoon, or bring all your friends to squish around a tiny table on a Saturday night. Paski wants to be your second home. A delicious blend of casual and cool, Paski doesn’t take itself too seriously – but it is seriously good – and Time Out is delighted to anoint it our Bar of the Year for 2022.

Read our full review of Paski Vineria Popolare here.

Return to Food & Drink Awards results page.

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