This Fitzroy wine bar has quite the sense of adventure.
June 02, 2016
If you've ever wondered what would happen if two ex-Attica young guns teamed up with the guys behind Rockwell and Sons to open their own wine bar, well, you need not ponder any longer. That's exactly the situation at Johnston Street's Bar Liberty — and it's been working a treat since launching in 2016.
The boys took over a lo-fi corner joint, tidied up the exterior just a little and worked their magic inside. The space is contemporary, but unaffectedly so; they've kept the glitz to a minimum, the banquette seating sans cushions, and the floors concrete. Sure, it's not the cosiest spot in Fitzroy, but the food and booze offering shines is all the better for it.
This is a destination for flavour lovers who aren't afraid to try a few new things. Sure, you could stick with your favourite rosé and some charcuterie and leave (very) happy, but creativity reigns supreme on both the menu and drinks list, so it's well worth digging in a little deeper.
Sommelier Banjo Harris Plane will wheel around his old-school globe bar trolley to tempt you with the evening's pouring wines. You might end up sipping a fortified wine made in collaboration with Beechworth's Pennyweight Winery or even something featuring the house-made vermouth. After that, you'll probably find yourself sharing a bottle from the hefty range of Chenin Blanc, or maybe one of the well-represented skin contact whites.
Seasoned beer fans will appreciate the brew selection, which is heavy on the local craft beers — like the great plum ale by Wildflower Brewing St — and full of share-friendly bottles upwards of 750mL.
A few classic cocktails are also on offer —from martinis and negronis to spritzes and a retro Japanese slipper. Drinks offerings are altogether vast, but very clean. You won't be getting anything too sweet or heavy on this list.
Meanwhile, the food menu is geared towards clever grazing, with shareable small and medium dishes the stars of the show. Expect delicately plated dishes like the grilled lamb tongue skewer served drenched in a sweet and sour apple and garum (fishy sauce) glaze and the cured venison with beets and bone marrow. More stodgy dishes also stream across the pass — think cheese and potato pierogis and the bread and miso noodles covered in a thick pecorino sauce. These will soak up all the booze your sure to down during your Bar Liberty session.
Image: Brook James.
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