Heartattack and Vine is many things; a bar, restaurant, cafe and meeting place, but most of all it’s a space to facilitate community. It was opened by four friends, Nathen, Emily, Hootan and Jono, back in 2015, inspired by European neighbourhood bars that were open day and night, and that served coffee alongside cocktails and light meals late into the evening. Their aim was to offer genuine hospitality, quality product, and a communal space for whoever wanted to use it. Nathen shares the intention behind this, the idea that customers are able to make the space their own; “we don’t just facilitate a space that serves coffee, we facilitate a space for how people want to live their lives, so we’ve created this space so that people can use it in any way they like” he tells us.
These strong values of connection and forming genuine relationships with customers and staff also applies to their suppliers. “First and foremost, we choose suppliers based on their ethics and how these align with our own” Nathen says, “we want to have a strong relationship with suppliers so that we know where they come from, and where their product comes from, so we can share this transparently with our customers.” He also discusses the importance of suppliers ensuring they minimise their environmental impact when possible, mentioning they’ve recently swapped to a milk supplier who they’re able to return milk bottles to so that they can be reused, and they’ve added a green waste bin.
We sat down with Nathen to have a chat about Heartattack and Vine, which you can find at 329 Lygon Street, Carlton.
In one sentence, can you describe what Heartattack and Vine is?
It’s an espresso and wine bar designed to be a part of our community, every day.
Why did it come about?
I saw it as an opportunity to express what I love about hospitality. I valued high quality product but didn’t love the way it came with an exclusivity. I found there was a breakdown between the customer and the server, where servers had attitude and customers thought of servers as cogs in the wheel for their meal. Heartattack allowed us to open a space where we can serve high quality product dressed down, and provide service with genuine human interaction.
Where did the name come from, are you all big Tom Waits fans?
To tell you the truth I hadn’t heard the album Heartattack and Vine before opening the shop. The name was amongst a range of different song titles we were looking at for the venue, but we all though that was the name that would stick with people.
What’s the best part of running Heartattack and Vine?
Honestly it’s being part of a community, within Carlton and within our team. We’ve had so many amazing people come through our little venue and I feel very lucky to have worked with them.
Favourite thing on the menu?
Hands down the porchetta roll. I don’t want to admit how many I’ve eaten over the years and I still love it every time.