Hellbound Wine Bar: How the co-owners used a rent-free space to their advantage 

Meet Mark Reginato and Louis Schofield, co-owners of Renew Adelaide success story Hellbound Wine bar, who used Renew Adelaide’s support network to turn their long running joke of opening a neighbour wine bar into a reality.

Written by Renew Adelaide

Jun 2, 2023

Louis Schofield from Hellbound sits in front of stonewall for Renew Adelaide

Wine first. Bar second

That’s the ethos of Hellbound, but it also describes the journey of Louis Schofield who spent a decade selling and producing wine before becoming a bar owner.

His long-term friend Mark Reginato was in the hospitality industry and for years the pair had a running joke about how they should start a wine bar. Something they felt Adelaide was lacking considering its status as the wine capital of Australia.

In January 2017, a heritage basement on Rundle St became available

When Mark and Louis saw the property listed on the Renew Adelaide website, it piqued their interest and they signed up for an inspection. Next thing they knew they’d signed the licence and were turning the basement into the wine bar they used to joke about.

After the makeover the space was transformed into a welcoming place featuring exposed brick walls, soft lighting and, most importantly, a healthy supply of comfortable seating.

“We always wanted it to feel like you were drinking in someone’s cellar,” says Louis. “Like you’ve gone to someone’s house for dinner and you head downstairs afterwards, raid the cellar, pull some corks, listen to some music, have a good time. We wanted people to feel comfortable and cosy and welcomed.”

Stone wall at Hellbound with neon light
Pouring red wine at Hellbound

The first few months can be a bit of a trial by fire

 In the hospitality industry it’s a brutal battle royale where only the very strongest survive. The most common mistake Louis sees people making is assuming that if they like their idea everyone else will too.

“You have to deliver something better value, better quality, different and exciting,” says Louis. 

The rent-free space gave Hellbound the jump start it needed

With the advantage of a rent-free space and the overwhelming support from their network, Hellbound emerged victorious and is still thriving years later. This is good news as Louis is in it for the long haul.

“You look at some of the great old venues like Amalfi across the street that’s been there forever and it’s just packed all the time because it’s an institution and people love it and they’ve always done a great job,” says Louis. “Which kind of gives us a lot of faith that if we can stick around for a long time we’ll work.”

Man sitting out the front of Hellbound Wine Bar