The Barn at McLaren Vale stands on land originally granted to George Fife Angas, Henry Kingscote and James Riddell Todd in 1840 under the hand and seal of George Gawler who was at the time Commissioner of public land in South Australia. The particular site on which The Barn was built was the old Coach Stop Way Station for the overnight stage for bullock teams bringing wheat from Victor Harbour to be milled in Adelaide.
The land was subsequently laid out by Richard Bell to become the township of Bellevue.
The Reverend Prior started the original Bellevue School in the cottage that still stands behind the Barn to this day.
In 1882 Thomas Hardy acquired the property and used the extensive stables to house his work horses.
As a result of a long-running local feud the old well by the stone horse trough was poisoned, killing Thomas Hardy's horses.
The property fell into disuse until in 1969 David Hardy (great-grandson of the original Thomas Hardy) and well known Australian artist David Dridan renovated the original coach house building with old timber beams from the disused Clarendon Winery. The result was the iconic figure known as The Barn Bistro and Art Gallery.
During its period of disuse The Barn was a home to many including one of the districts most famous wine families, the Scarpantonis. The family ties don't stop there with the grandfather of recent owner Ben Vandeleur being born in the cellar of the restaurant.
One of the fascinating things about The Barn is the conditions of the license. The License was granted shortly after the end of 6 o'clock closing in hotels. Tap beer could not be offered but they didn't outlaw sparkling wine on tap which became a calling card for the iconic venue. One of the other stipulations was that in order for the restaurant to trade it must operate as a legitimate art gallery, which it did successfully for many years and was a catalyst for the large array of galleries you see in the region today.
The Restaurant rose to prominence as one of the most highly-regarded restaurants in the country under the guidance of Brian & Rose Tierney. It was not uncommon to see helicopters land over at the Mclaren Vale Motel and guests walk over for a business lunch before making their journey back to Sydney or Melbourne. The Restaurant was a favourite for sporting celebrities such as the late Sir Donald Bradman and Richie Benaud and political icons like the late Don Dunstan.
The Restaurant was bought in August of 2006 by Ben & Bev Vandeleur who gave The Barn some TLC and a much needed facelift.
In September 2012 Matt Bailey from Mclaren Vale & Meg Carr from Nova Scotia, took over the restaurant and moved here from Canada to run it. Both have spent many years in the hospilality industry making them ideal candidates for continuing to run a successful iconic restaurant.
The Barn is still a favourite with locals and a destination for tourists from all over the world thanks largely to its warm atmosphere, caring hospitality and, of course, delicious food!