Shop stories: Explore Upstairs Cellar in Elsternwick Village

Explore Upstairs Cellar in Elsternwick Village

Matt Louden, owner of Upstairs Cellar.

Never judge a venue by an unassuming exterior – as everyone who’s ever discovered a cool bar or eatery will know.

And Upstairs Cellar in Elsternwick Village is a gem beyond an urban shopping strip street front.

An atmospheric bar with a friendly vibe, it’s a popular meet-up place – or indeed come alone – in the shopping precinct.

From the front section through to the wonderful courtyard, Upstairs Cellars works equally well as a cosy winter spot or a laid-back summer space.

A welcoming place

Owner Matt Louden said the simple decor – an understated warm timber aesthetic – with “old school” and friendly service makes the bar a welcoming place.

“This is the kind of place where regulars get together and catch up, and also where you can feel very comfortable popping in for a drink by yourself – maybe sit with a glass of wine and read,” Mr Louden said.

“I am delighted because that is the kind of bar I had in mind when I started this venture.”

Upstairs Cellar is described as a wine bar but Mr Louden said it really is an old-fashioned kind of bar.

“We offer comfortable, good service. It’s a place where new people can fast become regulars that you meet up with,” he said.

It has been described like the 80s sitcom Cheers, and that’s the vibe that Mr Louden wanted for the venue.

The bar and bottle shop, with its selection of Australian and Victorian small-batch wines and delicious charcuterie, pizzas and bar snacks, is the perfect place for intimate conversations or casual get togethers.

Explore Upstairs Cellar in Elsternwick Village
Explore Upstairs Cellar in Elsternwick Village
Explore Upstairs Cellar in Elsternwick Village
Explore Upstairs Cellar in Elsternwick Village

A dream come true

Mr Louden has an extensive background in restaurant and hospitality work, including at a Michelin starred restaurant where he developed his knowledge of and love of wine.

“This place sold most of its wine by the glass, so bottles of all ranges were opened. It was an opportunity to taste and learn, and I got the bug,” he said.

From there, Mr Louden’s dream of opening his own bar grew and is now a reality.

When he saw a vacant space for lease on Glen Huntly Rd, he knew it was the perfect spot for what he had in mind. And it has worked out just as he dreamed.

“From the street-front tables, through the bar and into the courtyard with its fireplace – this is a business I am happy to be the face of,” Mr Louden said.

“It’s a bar with atmosphere, and regulars and newcomers.”

A story behind the name

Elsternwick Village has turned out to be a great location for Upstairs Cellar.

“Elsternwick still has a village feel. The community supports each other. People come in and they chat and feel comfortable, and that’s what a bar is all about,” Mr Louden said.

Like many businesses, the name of the bar has a little story attached to it.

There is no upstairs (or even an underground). It’s a single-floor venue. But, years ago when Mr Louden was younger and he began learning about and loving wine, he also started a little collection.

“The only place for it was a cupboard upstairs and in my head I named it my ‘upstairs cellar’,” he said.

So, when the time came to follow his dream and open his own bar, what better name than Upstairs Cellar?

It’s the place where everyone knows your name, and where everyone is welcome. Be sure to experience it for yourself.

Explore Upstairs Cellar in Elsternwick Village

Visit the bar

Upstairs Cellar

303 Glen Huntly Rd, Elsternwick

Phone: 0401 181 926

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