As soon as I heard the name of this place, I was already into it. Tipple is just one of those excellent words that conjures images of having one too many afternoon shandies or Pimm's cups. It lends a certain cheeky class to the act of drinking that seasoned souls like myself greatly appreciate. But there's much more to The Tippler than just the name.
Setting up shop in the often overlooked streets of East Melbourne, The Tippler has the dual advantage of being incredibly accessible and close to the city, while still feeling like a little local's getaway. Tucked into a small but well-designed space on Wellington Parade, this new bar/restaurant boasts a clean wood-based aesthetic, and a detail-oriented selection of food and drink that somehow feels both innovative and unpretentious all at once.
At the bar you can expect a well-chosen selection of local craft beers including Mountain Goat Steam Ale (brewed just a matter of streets away), Coburg Lager and Sydney's 4 Pines, as well as a small (and rotating) selection of classic and original cocktails. Even in their spiffy little aprons, the bar staff are well-versed in all stock, friendly, and happy to talk you through any selections.
The same can be said of the wait staff too. Instead of a formal dining experience, staff on the floor offer relaxed table service to anyone that so desires and will cheerily run through the short menu with you. What could at first be overlooked as a small bar menu is in fact a nuanced and varied offering of ornate dishes with both vegan and gluten free options.
Just after a few snacks to pick at while enjoying a nightcap? Try out the prosciutto with Mount Zero olives, sesame seeds, soy bean crostini and almonds ($16 or $17 with added goats cheese). After something more substantial, and not in the mood for sharing? There's the pan-fried gnocchi with sweet potato, sage burnt butter, lemon and goats chevre ($19) or the slow-braised lamb shoulder and chickpea stew ($22). But our top pick is the beef short rib. Served with sesame spinach, edamame and apple and daikon slaw (small $22, large $26), the meat in this dish was so tender it seriously just fell off the bone.
It feels a little sad to write about The Tippler — I live just around the corner and can still easily get a seat on Friday nights — but credit where credit's due. So, here's the insider's tip: happy hour is from 5-7pm and cocktails are $10 all day Sunday. You're welcome.