Well-known establishments PA & Co, Bistro Süd and Combo just got a little sibling. For quite some time, some of the people behind this famous group of restaurants – Håkan Ericson, his brother Niklas and Jens “Dimman” Lundqvist – felt like it would be nice to combine the elements of all their restaurants. They wanted to create a simple space with food and wine where it would feel right to just sit down and have glass or some simple food at a decent price. They also wanted an extensive, yet controlled, wine list suited to everyone’s taste, where you can have something easy-going and familiar or splash out and sample a wine that you might just have read about. The wine list, at least by the glass, will vary from week to week as they can’t store too much in their somewhat limited wine cellar.
Having a glass at Combo, either tightly squeezed in at the small space indoors or stretching out your legs on to Odengatan, serves its purpose. The atmosphere is at times slightly noisy and lively, yet very passionate, and it’s a place to relax and enjoy. The friendly familiar atmosphere and easy-going feel for wine will make this a haven for locals and less snobby wine aficionados. I wanted to know a little more, and got a few minutes with Jens, a well-known face from PA&Co, now hosting the floor at Combo Vinbaren.
When building up a wine list/cellar from scratch in a new place, what are the key things to take into consideration?
Somewhere to store it is a good start, we built a nice but small temperature-controlled wine room right next to our community table. With the wines it is really important that one can drink them right now, we haven’t got the room to store them for years on end.
What is the main focus on your wine list?
We didn’t want to become the wine bar just for sommeliers, but for anyone with an interest of wines who wants to taste something new. When we started buying, we seemed to find a lot of Pinot Noir and Syrah but it is a living list and it changes all the time.
What can your visitors expect in the range of wine by the glass?
We have everything from cheap, well-made Sauvignon Blanc from southern France to Sine Qua Non by the glass.
And how deep will your wine cellar go, any rarities on the list?
It goes really deep but we don’t have many bottles of each, so for example we put up some really nice aged Barolo on the list and it lasted eight hours before someone drank it all.
You serve food too at Combo Vinbaren, what is your focus when it comes to building that menu?
Well-made, inexpensive food.
What can one expect when visiting Combo Vinbaren in terms of experience?
Small, intimate and a familiarity from the staff.
How did you choose this location for the wine bar? It’s a rather small space, yet with a chambre séparée. How many people can you house on a busy evening?
We have 24 seats inside and 12 outside in the warmer parts of the year, it’s small and cosy.
What differ this place to your prior establishments such as Combo, Bistro Süd and PA&Co.?
It’s smaller and with a focus on inexpensive food and great drinking.
Who would you say will be your target audience?
We are a local for everyone, those living on the block or for people travelling to see us.
Anything you think our readers shouldn’t miss whilst visiting you this fall?
I think one should try all the great restaurants and bars in the area starting from Tennstopet, going past Sushi Sho, Tranan, ourselves obviously, Sosta, Agrikultur and perhaps ending at Babette or Balzac.
Combo Vinbaren is situated at Odengatan 52 and is open from 10 to 22, serving lunches and evening dinners.
Words: Pär Strömberg