Antonym restaurant by James Diack.
Antonym restaurant by James Diack.
Image: Supplied

James Diack, chef proprietor of Parktown North’s farm-to-fork favourites, Il Contadino and Coobs has opened a hole-in-the-wall wine bar (within Coobs’ bar area), and it’s probably the opposite of what you’ve come to expect from the “wine bar concept” in all the right ways.

Recognising his consumers desire for a more laid back, unpretentious, less expensive, and more accessible wine experience, he came up with Antonym. Frustrated by the mentality that wine bars usually mean exorbitant pricing, limited by-the-glass offerings, and measly morsels to snack on, he has set out to create the opposite experience.

Separating the two sides of Coobs, Antonym takes up the cellar-side – where a host of fine SA wines are available by the glass (with a few accompanied by a complimentary snack pairing). The use of the Coravin wine pourer allows Diack and his team to pour wines – usually left for the bottle list – by glass without pulling the cork, giving avid wine drinkers and novices alike the opportunity to indulge in interesting and unusual wines they may usually be hesitant, or unable, to taste otherwise.

“It’s about inspiring people to drink our great SA wine by offering it to them at really affordable prices” says Diack “it’s about getting people excited about our wines, encouraging them to go out of their comfort zones and try something new”.

An array of wines and nibbles at Antonym.
An array of wines and nibbles at Antonym.
Image: Supplied

Looking towards the food, the menu consists of small plates. Think tuna carpaccio with deep fried tofu and a touch of pickled ginger (suggested with the Dancho Luka chenin); a superb wagyu osso buco stuffed pasta (go for the Lowerland Die Verlore Bokooi red blend); a warm and comforting veggie pot with shimejii mushrooms, chicken, and a touch of squid ink for effect (perfect for pairing with Momento’s Grenache); and much more. Pop in for a glass or two of wine, and nibble on some light bites. Those looking for something heartier, can then move on to one of Diack’s other popular eateries on the same strip.

It’s a refreshing move for Joburg which has, for so long, been limited by ridiculous mark-ups, and wine lists which are often sold to the highest bidder. For Diack, it’s about giving his customers – who have for the last year been told to stay at home – the opportunity to go out to a cool space, have a few glasses of wine, enjoy some tasty snacks, and unwind – without breaking the bank, but still being totally enjoyable.

Antonym Wine Bar
Where: 19 4th Avenue Parktown North
When: Tuesday – Saturday 12pm – 22pm, and Sundays 12pm – 15pm.

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