Just to clarify: we really like restaurants and cafés that are passionate about sustainability, BUT we are also trying to be fair to other parties of the hospitality industry. Therefore the following post will be a bit out of the ordinary and will introduce you a green wine bar.
It was an average Friday night when we all thought that we could conveniently leave any “work” related subject behind for the next couple of days, when we suddenly found ourselves in Doblo Wine Bar. After entering the place we already had a feeling that we were going to bother the staff with some questions apart from our orders…
At the corner of Dob and Holló street (maybe that’s where the name comes from?) you have an impression to enter a real wine cellar: 4 meters high vaulted hall covered by genuine raw bricks with a lovely ambiance of lights (by those magnificent lamps!), and wine bottles all around the wall. On the board we get to know the wine of the week, and looking at their menu we feel that this is definitely not our last visit here. Naturally, all wines are from local producers – almost every Hungarian region is represented – we get to find organic, kosher types, and wines from small scale manufactures, but also brilliant Hungarian palinkas (“pálinka” is a Hungarian spirit of an average 40-50% ABV). In terms of bar snacks, we can choose from a wonderful cheese and charcuterie selection, warm goose scratchings or goat cheese/foie gras canapés. The ingredients are purchased directly from local manufactures: the cheese for example comes from Lajosmizse. All the meat they offer are traditionally smoked, and Doblo is the most proud of their pickle selection made of zukkini and pattypan squash which is exclusively produced for their business. According to the owner, Dávid Popovics, it doesn’t matter that the ingredients that they use are not rated by the official Organic certification, because all of them are selected quality products produced by reliable farmers. What else could prove this statement any better rather than the fact that barely any leftover goes in the garbage: “Thank God, we manage to forecast the customers’ demand really close to reality” – the owner tell us.
After picking our first victim of the wine list, we realized that the interior worth a separate note as well: those lovely lamps are all recycled, previously functioned as cups, tea-saucers, wine bottles or ceramic kettles. The manager, Szilvia Márton, kindly lets us know that the lamps are not the only recycled objects in the bar: the chairs and the tables are also purchased from vintage fairs. She also told us that they made a genuine effort from the very beginning to be sustainable and green-minded in most aspect. All the windows have been replaced to double glassed, energy saver versions; and during the renovation of the heating system they considered the bar’s size by its cubic capacity. Their long-term plan is to use the cellar’s (underneath the bar) permanent temperature of 14-15 Celsius for heating in winter, and equally, for air-conditioning in the summer.
According to David, it’s not always easy to find a way between being green and make your customers happy, as sometimes the clients don’t want to accommodate these innovations. “An associate of one of the Sustainability Counselor Agencies is a regular guest in our bar and he kindly checked the place to see if there is any area of development. We were very pleased with the outcome, as he couldn’t really name any of them. There are still improvements though since then: for example, we used to have textile towels in our toilets that our guests didn’t really like so we switched to paper towels. Looking that amount of paper being wasted we decided to purchase air powered hand driers.” – said Dávid. “Thankfully, no one is really bothered by the fact that there are no electric switchers in the bar – there are motion sensitive lamps everywhere including the toilets and the back office. Also, everyone is happy with the energy saver fridges, environmentally friendly cleaning supplies or to pull that heavy heat saver curtain at the entrance which helps to keep the place warm efficiently.”
Doblo is in a good position in terms of selective domestic waste collection as well: nearby, there is a recycling junkyard (called MÉH) where they manage to use all of their paper and metal trash. There is also a company who takes their wine bottles to re-use. “We don’t use any plastic – not even shopping bags – so if a client wants to make a take away purchase we either give a paper box from one of the wine makers, or find a bag among the staff.” There was a campaign at last Christmas when they ordered printed canvas bags to give for their clients, emphasizing them to re-use them.
We also inquired from the creator of Doblo, why sustainability is in such a big focus. David’s first child was recently born, this is the biggest reason for all his new approaches. “I was lucky enough to travel around the world and although I really appreciate a good glass of New-Zealander Chardonnay, it wouldn’t give the same pleasure if I consumed it at home knowing what a harmful impact it has on our environment to bring it all the way here.” He thinks that Hungary’s wine selection can cover 99% of any kind of desire. At very special events they like to celebrate with a good bottle of wine from somewhere else the world, but these are really rare occasions as it’s more important for him to guarantee fresh and clean air for the next generation by being green-minded. “These are really small steps, but we strongly believe if everyone would make the same amount of effort in any aspect of their lives we could make this world a better place to live.”
Going with the evening, as more and more wine glasses appeared on our table, we established that Doblo is the best place to start the weekend with a good glass of wine. Strongly recommended for wine lovers – furthermore, for wine lovers who care about their environment.
A million thanks to Judit Zollai, who translated the article from the original!!
/The pictures have been selected from Facebook by the permission of the owner/