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This pop-up bar and restaurant has taken over the Saga digs on Enmore Road for three months — trading sandwiches for sardines and pastries for pét-nats.
By Ben Hansen
September 29, 2023
By Ben Hansen
September 29, 2023

Following eight mighty culinary pop-ups in locations like NewtownMarrickville and Melbourne, acclaimed hospitality duo BABS has taken over a beloved space on Enmore Road for their first longer-term venue. Led by Head Chef Ellie Hayes O'Brien and Restaurant Manager Bec Shave, BABS has built a cult following over the last 18 months through a series of long lunches and dinners, all celebrating women in the hospo industry.

The name BABS is double-pronged — standing for Bad Ass Bitches, and paying homage to the patron saint of said badasses, Barbra Streisand. This is the energy that O'Brien and Shave have brought to their new short-term home on Enmore Road, opening a BABS neighbourhood bar and restaurant for three months in Saga's former digs.

The short and sweet stay has brought the usual female-led vision of BABS previous pop-ups to 178 Enmore Road. The layout of Andy Bowdy's popular cafe has been maintained, but the lights are now a little moodier — and the duo have traded Saga's sandwiches and pastries for sardines and pét-nats.

The Euro-focused menu features chicken liver gougeres and handmade pasta, plus playful sweets like champagne jelly and sticky flans.

Lily Austin

Drinks-wise, expect two-sip martinis, amaro and negronis, plus a robust wine list with special attention paid to female vino-makers. If you're lucky, you might wander in as a magnum of natty wine has just been cracked.

Tying the whole operation together is vintage pink crockery reminiscent of your grandma's house and handprinted linocut menus made by the head of design at BABS, Eva Balog.

Both O'Brien and Shave are hospo lifers and Inner West locals, with the pair deciding to channel their love for food, booze and good times into something special following the lockdowns — and after nearly two years of experimentation, they've arrived at BABS' first standalone venue and one that they describe as "a love letter to the Inner West".

The limited-time bar and restaurant is open from 5pm Thursday–Saturday and for lunch on Sundays throughout spring. It will be a walk-in-only affair, meaning you'll be able to saunter down to Enmore Road for a glass of wine and a few memorable snacks whenever the inspiration hits.

Images: Lily Austin.

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