Don’t shy away if you don’t know anything about natural wine—Bar Luca in SCBD will greet you with open arms. Billed as the first natural wine bar in the city, the newly opened establishment by UNION group devotes itself to the drink’s blooming trend, which, according to its head sommelier, Adam, is actually not a new thing at all.
“Wine has been around for hundreds of years. Before [the advancement of] technology, it was just made with what was readily available,” said Adam, who is also the president of the Indonesia Sommelier Association. “It’s like a circle. We see this shift from conventional wine to the organic trend, and now experiencing the emergence of natural wine—it’s like we’re going back to the old times.”
Holding deep selections from Italy, France and Spain that range from Pet-Nat (sparkling wine) to the fuller-bodied orange wine, stored in custom-made wine chillers disguised like wooden cabinets, the establishment is not only interested in tapping into this fun and approachable aspect of natural wine but also informing customers about the craftsmanship, whose production are often times small scale and personal: What makes it natural? What’s the difference between organic and biodynamic wine? What is that ‘funky’ taste? Your curiosities will most likely be answered here.
Taking a convenient spot at 18 Parc Place building, Bar Luca itself is warm, inviting and busy; they open the door at 5 pm and expectedly, not many would come on the dot, but come sundown, the dimly lit room would see a constant flow of chicly dressed and work-suit-clad groups coming for post-work dinner and libation. Some stride to the dinner table, and some go straight to the bar where Adam can be seen pouring a glass while chatting away with diners, while others head to the fluffy sofa area or outdoor seating.
Over at the open kitchen is Chef Luca Pezerra—the figurehead behind UNION’s Italian restos like Roma Osteria and Caffè Milano—who serves diners with small plates that would go well with the highlighted drink. One can quickly identify that he doesn’t limit himself to a particular cuisine, like the pretzel with whipped mackerel, the sando with shaved Angus beef tongue, or the chicken kebab with lavash and a side of pilaf.
With its relaxed and approachable disposition towards natural wine, which still falls under the novel category here, Bar Luca makes a case for creating an experience that is well thought out yet still feels light-hearted—just like the drink it’s showcasing.