Take a stroll down the industrial-clad Rupert Street and you might see a small, copper fox peering at you. Don't be alarmed. For you've just discovered Collingwood's most sleek and sly bar on the block, Rupert on Rupert.
The red fox, bar manager Radar Rad says, was inspired by owner Ric Corinaldi's beginnings in Warrandyte, where foxes run rampant. Midnight blues and tartan bench seats are a bold and welcoming statement from Ric and team, who have transformed this warehouse into one cunningly fine, aesthetically imagined den.
The bar isn't much of a burrow — there's too much natural light flooding in from the ceiling windows for that. And the appeal lies beyond just the use of sunlight and those tempting metal curves of the motorbikes they keep on show. It's the fine touches, like the copper piping that runs around the bar for your feet to rest on, that shows this group care not only for aesthetics, but are catering to comfort and class.
Venue Manager, Maxwell Finch (ex The Beaufort), further explains that Ric and team wanted a more inclusive venue, mirroring not only Ric's beginnings at the edge of suburbia, but also more of an older country mentality. They achieve this with their menu.
Rupert's menu is designed to be shared, with a focus on European peasant food. Parsnip chips with babaganoush ($8.50) and panfried tofu with satay and mint ($18) make great snacking morsels to get you started. Rinse these down with one of their on-tap drinks. Choices range from a house red or white, to two apple ciders or one of their eight Australian favoured beers.
The more substantial feasts include their wood-fired oven pizzas. Choose from a paprika spiced Polish sausage sort ($22.50) or maybe one scattered with smoked trout, olives and pea tendrils ($23). Dietaries can also be catered for, with gluten free pizza bases or nutzarella vegan cheese ($4 each) available on request.
Finish the night with our preferred apple and whiskey squeeze The Jappels are Here ($10), and Rupert's personal favourite: a glass of Vermut Negre, a Spanish vermouth ($7), served on the rocks. With a range like that, it's definitely a classy enough place to take a date. Or your mum.
Motorbikes and tartan have never worked better together. And if foxes have to surface for food and water, then Rupert provides the perfect sanctuary for such nourishment.