Walking the 'Support Local' Talk

Phillip Sunderland

Phillip Sunderland, owner/operator of Not Without You, believes in supporting local businesses and creating an authentic space for people to really catch up.

Not Without You is your first hospitality venture and you still run your creative agency as well, what’s that transition been like?

It’s been a big learning curve for me, but I’ve got 500 new friends as a result, which has been fun. I get to work with wine makers, butchers, cheesemongers and more. I love working with the artisans and makers who support Not Without You. During the day at my creative agency I help businesses figure out how to authentically tell their story and how to communicate their values creatively.

Not Without You has become one of the city’s most talked about establishments, what’s the story behind the name?


The name really has two meanings. The first reading is the idea that life is better shared. We wanted to create a place where you could come for wine with a friend, a place where you could actually catch up, rather than a place where you went to be seen. Life is fast, I don’t get the chance to catch up with my best friends very often, to really get lost in the conversation without being distracted or stressed. Not Without You is a place where you can do that.


The second reading is that it’s ‘not without' all the other businesses around us. Tatyanna Meharry, the local Ceramicist behind The Busy Finch, made all of our cups, mugs, plates and bowls for example. I really believe in New Zealand made products and want to support local, because I’m asking people to support authentic, local businesses when they come to Not Without You. I think you’ve really got to look at how you can benefit your local community.

What makes Not Without You so special?

When we opened, we really just wanted to be the best little laneway wine bar. We wanted to be a place that people would stumble across and find great service and products inside. A lot of hospitality people come in when they have time off and love that they can find things here that aren’t on offer everywhere else. We made a point of that really, to be independent and not end up bound to a contract where we could only serve certain wines for example. We wanted to be our own thing and that’s remained very important to NWY.

Not Without You is in the SALT district, what do you love about this part of the city?

The owner operators you find in the SALT district really put their personalities, their hearts and souls into their work. There are a lot of creative, unique business owners here who are very passionate about their products - it’s an eclectic group and it’s developing to be even more so. In other cities I find that when you start checking out the laneways and side streets that’s when you really start finding unique, creative businesses run by good, honest people. The SALT district definitely has captured a bit of that same vibe.

What wine are you excited about right now?

Natural ferments like the Greystone ‘vineyard ferment’ Pinot Noir. I find experimental wines very interesting, especially when well established wineries produce them. You need a bit of trust and knowledge with these wines, because the natural process introduces so much more variability.

What does your favourite evening at Not Without You look like?

There is nothing finer than the sound of many people enjoying themselves, the hubbub of the busy wine bar, where you can sense everyone is enjoying themselves. It’s a warm, low hum, and a very lovely feeling to know people are connecting with one another. 

When you’re not at Not Without You where are you? 

Inati, Earl, 5th Street, The Monday Room, Unknown Chapter or Lux at CoCA.

All People