Port Melbourne is set to score its own taste of the 1950s jazz scene, when sophisticated cocktail lounge Clooney Kitchen & Bar opens on Bay Street later this month. Named not for the actor, but for his famous jazz musician aunt Rosie, it's a little dose of old-world Hollywood glamour down under.
Heading up the bar are Shannon McFarland (The Rochester, Woodland House) and Will Crennan (Gin Palace, Collins Quarter), who have pulled together a collection of artisanal spirits, inventive signature cocktails, craft beers from across Italy and Australia, and a tidy, yet well-travelled lineup of wine. Dialling up the luxury will be lesser known Italian liqueurs, Scotch tasting trays and George Clooney's own Casamigos tequila.
Meanwhile, McFarland's house-made liqueurs promise to add a unique edge to your drinking sessions. To match, Head Chef Leigh Stanicic (Melbourne Wine Room, The Fat Duck) has designed a menu of bar snacks and small bites drawing inspiration from across Europe and Asia, full of big, fresh flavours and boasting lots of raw dishes. Choose your own adventure, or settle in for the four-course food and cocktail degustation, a collaboration between McFarland and Stanicic.
The space itself is dressed to impress, designed by Darren Kerf of Kerf Designs, with swanky plum velvet booths, art deco features and bold wallpapers full of 1950s elegance.
To round out the experience, the team is matching that vintage sophistication with an old-school sense of hospitality, serving drinks carefully customised to guests' palates, and respecting the classics, while also embracing the new and innovative.
Find Clooney Kitchen & Bar at 171 Bay Street, Port Melbourne, from late August.