Poodle Bar & Bistro has scored a new upstairs sibling, serving signature sips, gourmet charcuterie and caviar two nights a week.
As Melbourne's hospitality scene slowly shifts back towards normality, we're all enjoying a renewed appreciation for something that was all too scarce last year: the unplanned, spontaneous drinking session. And, handily enough, the northside has scored a new haunt dedicated to this very pleasure, with the launch of Poodle Upstairs in the heart of Fitzroy.
The new first-floor sibling to Gertrude Street's Poodle Bar & Bistro, the intimate watering hole is open for walk-ins only, every Friday and Saturday night. As with the downstairs space, it's sporting an elegant fit-out by Wendy Bergman (Bergman & Co), filled with art deco curves, cushy banquettes and luxe gold accents. There's a private dining room with space to seat 20 and a fireplace primed for the winter months to come.
For up here, Head Chef Josh Fry (Marion and Cumulus Inc) has created a separate snack menu to what's offered below, starring chic Euro-inspired bites designed to be enjoyed alongside a glass or two of vino.
A strong charcuterie selection features both house-made free-range varieties and premium options sourced from across the globe, from a confit garlic and pistachio terrine ($26), to the Juan Pedro Domecq Iberico jamon ($36). There's also an impressive cheese list ($16 each) and a lineup of gourmet tinned and canned delights ($16–40).
As for the booze offering, it's headlined by a 16-strong pick of classic and contemporary cocktails, with the venue's signature wet martini sitting alongside crafty pours like the Rosy Cheeks ($20) — a bright blend of Vida tequila, Aperol, lime and rosemary syrup. Meanwhile, a hefty wine list trips across Victoria and Europe, featuring bottles like the Patrice Colin Sec Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley ($15 a glass), next to homegrown heroes like McLaren Vale's Ministry of Clouds Shiraz ($75 a bottle).