For many years, Gypsy Bar was a fixture on Fitzroy's Brunswick Street. It was a place that many Fitzroyalty used to hang out in on the nights when other venues were just too much, and home to some seriously cool live music over the years. Then it closed. The bar to take over had a big pair of shoes to fill.
I think that The Rum Diary might just have what it takes.
With a name like The Rum Diary, you've got to hope that there's going to be rum. Lots of it. Happily, The Rum Diary delivers just what it promises. Lots of rum cocktails, lots of interesting little surprises on their menu, and bartenders who love the drinks they're serving up. Lots of types of rum, although this should go without saying.
The drinks themselves are interesting, if not all astounding. One of the things rum is prone to is being matched with fruit, and many of the cocktails on the Diary's menu do fall into this trap. However, there's been an obvious attempt to make things interesting. Various types of rum are matched with liqueurs and subtle nectars to create things that buzz the palate. As one of nature's gin drinkers, I was still able to find plenty of cocktails I could be happy with.
An unusual feature of The Rum Diary I really liked was the cocktail sizes available. Usually, cocktails come however you're given them. With the Rum Diary's list, though, you can choose short, long or a jug. They're mostly $10 for the short, $18 for the long and $30-ish for a jug. It's a good option for those who aren't looking for a big night out (or writers who have a strict alcohol budget but really, really want to try all those cocktails).
What The Rum Diary is not is one of the overcrowded, overhyped bars that are becoming all too common on Brunswick Street. There are plain old drinks for those interested in plain old drinking. There are toasties for people who feel their stomachs could use a little lining. Best of all, there are tables you don't have to wait half an hour for.