Bar Manager Deb Hamilton pictured with Owner Harvey Walsh

When Harvey Walsh and Penny Carlisle first moved to Yass in 2010, they fell in love with the town and had every intention to plant some grapes and make some wines.

That dream was well and truly seized three years later when they moved forward and opened a wine bar named Yazzbar.

Yazzbar originally started out as a small bar showcasing the Canberra districts best wines, but in a year’s time, it grew with a kitchen servicing tapas dishes as well as live music on Saturday nights. 

With seating out on the footpath, Harvey and Penny have also extended the premises with a courtyard area.

Yazzbar – L-R Harvey and wife Penny with bar manager Deb

With hanging festoon lights patrons will soon appreciate this space with warmer weather on the horizon.

A pergola has also recently been put in place for grapes to grow onto in the summer and when the courtyard is filled with loud conversations, all that is left is for yourself to do is get a few friends and a glass of wine in your hands.

And if you appreciate the indoors, the wine bar on 81 Comur Street has spaces for families or private functions throughout the week, but also smaller dining areas for couples, friends, or passersby to dine-in.  

With the growth, as well as plenty of events, happening each month, Harvey said he is taken back by how much the bar has grown over the years.

“We initially thought, someone should open up a small bar and just showcase local wine, because no one in town was,” Harvey said.

“We like to travel and taste local wines. You don’t go to Italy and drink French wines. All the bars in Yass were showcasing every wine except the locals. 

“Penny and I had loved wine and enjoyed nice little bars so we wanted to bring one to the people in Yass.”

Although Harvey said he was originally inspired by bar scenes in Paris when renovating the place, it was actually visiting patrons over the years that have told Mr Walsh that, Yazzbar very much, vibes off in a similar way to a Melbourne bar scene.

Yazzbar prides itself on supporting local wines and stocks all three Canberra district wineries, which features Murrumbateman. 

According to Harvey, Shiraz and Cabernet are most popular in winter and the award-winning Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc are most popular during summer. 

In December 2019, Gourmet Traveller Wine named Yazzbar as one of 50 venues in the world for go-to wine experiences, revealed by an international team of wine experts. 

Yazzbar hosts up to six whisky tastings a year, showcasing a wide range of whisky choices.

On October 29, Yazzbar has been given the green light to run their major event, the Yass Wine festival, at the memorial hall across the road. 

In previous years, it traditionally allows guests to roam around stationed winemakers but this year, will be reversed, guests will be sat down and winemakers will be roaming around them due to certain restrictions in place. 

After an interesting year with the pandemic, Harvey said he was glad the festival can continue on as it “gives people a reason to dress up and be happy”.

In other news, the very popular Deb Hamilton behind the bar joined three years ago and as of this year, she is now a full-time manager at Yazzbar. 

We thank Yazzbar for supporting your local newspaper, the Yass Valley Times.

Christopher Tan

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