Brunswick East has always been blessed with late-night joints and there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth when institution Café Romantica closed last year after 30 years of serving pizzas basically 24/7. Big shoes to fill, perhaps. But the new owners have redone the interior, produced an exceptional menu and drinks list, and, having been open for six months now, they’re killing it. While the name Bar Romantica may conjure up images of a small, intimate, cosy bar set-up, it’s not — instead it’s quite cavernous with high ceilings and mirrors, and the space goes way back past the bar to the open kitchen, booths and the pool table. It’s got sophisticated snacks, excellent mains and, in a nod to the venue’s history, the kitchen’s kept the classic Pizza Romantica ($18) on there, zhuzhed a little with a Napoli crust and — if you want to pay an extra five bucks — a hint of ‘nduja. Apart from Monday and Tuesday, Bar Romantica is open late each night, and until 4am on Fridays and Saturdays. While it might not be the all-occasions drop-in spot it once was, whether you’re a night owl, a party animal, looking for a good date night spot or just want to treat yourself to some delicious food, Bar Romantica is ready and waiting for you.
Words: Jo Rittey. Images: Kate Shanasy.