I search and discover so I can write about all things booze and bars. From rooftops to laneways, basements to hidden bars, Melbourne has one of the World’s most innovative cocktail scenes. Read more on my blog: www.melbournecocktails.com/
Published May 2nd 2016
Stay awhile, rum in hand, with a friendly bartender
The Rum Diary Bar is one of Melbourne's little gems. Located on Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, locals and regulars know it's there, but despite being at the business end of Brunswick's busiest strips, newbies can walk right past it. Perhaps it's the darkened exterior, masking the celebration of rum going on inside.
Hunter S Thompson, the American author and journalist, penned The Rum Diary, after which this bar is named. Although both the novel and the film adaption tend to divide audiences, The Rum Diary Bar is loved by all who enter. It's the warm welcoming glow and the friendly nod from the bartenders… despite being your first time it feels like you're a regular already.
The interior is like a cross between a ship's cabin and a Cuban rum bar. Thick, knotted rope hangs between black and white photos, Sailor Jerry prints and haunting, wooden masks. The lighting is low, encouraging punters to cosy up at the bar and sit awhile. The back holds a comfy couch and armchairs, the lamps and coffee table reminiscent of a friend's living room.
It's no surprise that The Rum Diary Bar holds a lot of rum. Not just any old rum though, Andy (bar manager) and Hamish (owner) curate an impressive collection of white, brown and spiced rum from about the world. It's a great place to begin your rum journey, or treat your well-seasoned palate to some new tastes.
If you're after a rum cocktail, there's plenty to choose from. The Trader Vic Mai Tai is spectacular, complete with tiki mug and burnt-out cocktail umbrella. The newly-named 'The Bear and The Bramley' is a personal favourite; complex and spicy with a gentle coffee undertone.
Andy and his team of talented bar tenders are what takes The Rum Diary Bar to the next level. They love to chat, enthuse about their new favourite rum and generally make everyone feel welcome. It is service and hospitality at its best.
The Rum Diary Bar is a firm favourite and it's clear why it has such a following. Sit at the bar, try a rum or two and watch the hours slip away.