A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Published March 8th 2021
This bar is best in show
Poodle Fitzroy Bar and Bistro now has a new kennel mate, with Poodle Upstairs joining the line up. Zoë Rubino and Emilio Scalzo have opened Poodle Upstairs for walk-in drinks, and a snacking menu (which differs from the offering in the downstairs bar and bistro).
Poodle Upstairs is now open for walk-ins, on Friday and Saturday nights. (Image credit: Jake Roden)
Located in Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, the building which houses Poodle was formerly two adjacent rooming houses. Far removed from its shabby past, Poodle Upstairs' design aesthetic continues the 'good bloodlines' of its downstairs partners, given life by Wendy Bergman (Bergman & Co). You can expect to see modern lighting which accentuates the room's high ceilings, original brickwork (painted in muted tones), and large original windows, with views back to the city. There's also an open fireplace, perfect to relax in front of with a glass of classy red as the weather grows colder, and plenty of comfortable seating. On the afternoon we visited, sun was streaming in through the front windows, bathing the room in warm natural light.
Hidden away next to the main space upstairs is a private dining room which is perfect for smaller events seating up to 20 people. Multi-functional and versatile, the dining room will also open up the wine cellar to private tastings in the future, with plans to hold public events in the newly opened area. The entire upstairs space including the dining room is also available for bookings, accommodating groups of up to 70 guests.
For the bar's launch, Zoe and Emilio set up a snacking table to die for, demonstrating the bar's strong credentials as a function venue.
A snacking table to die for - look at that cheese! (Writer's image)
Designed by Head Chef Josh Fry (ex-Marion/Cumulus Inc), the food menu shines a light on house-made charcuterie made with Bundarra Berkshire Pigs from Barham (NSW), sustainably raised by free-range farmers Lachlan and Lauren Mathers, then cured in the Poodle wine cellar. Other premium charcuterie from around the world has also been sourced featuring free-range pork, confit garlic and pistachio terrine, Juan Pedro Domecq Iberico Jamon, hot sopressa, and more.
The drinks menu features sixteen classic and signature cocktails, an extensive range of Victorian and European wines, and spirits. Expect classics like the Sidecar, Manhattan and the Wet Poodle (wet martini). Other signature cocktails include the Rosy Cheeks (Vida, Aperol, lime, rosemary syrup), Mosse Martini (Mosse vermouth, Tanqueray, Dolin Dry), Basil Club (basil-infused Tanqueray, raspberries, pepper), and The Masterpiece (Cocchi Vermouth Di Torino, Bulleit Rye, Angostura bitters).
If you are considering a wine and cheese event, Poodle Upstairs also offers a selection of Australian and French varieties such as Marcel Petite Comte, Vanella Burrata, Crottin Chevrefeuille white mould, Colston Basset Stilton, and Pont l'Eveque washed rind.
My partner David enjoying the Poodle vibe. (Writer's image)
Poodle Upstairs is located at 81-83 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy. It is open Fridays and Saturdays, 6pm - 1am, for walk-ins only.
So if you're looking for somewhere new for a tipple and a snack, whether it's for an intimate occasion or for a larger group, collar your drinking buddies and walk on into Poodle Upstairs. For more information or function enquiries, phone (03) 9086 8971, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.