When we heard one of our favourite craft beer bars (Beermash) was teaming up with one of our favourite bartenders (Joshua Crawford: Boilermaker House, Vue De Monde) we knew we knew we had to drop in for a visit. Bonny is Fitzroy’s newest neighbourhood bar in a neighbourhood known for bars. (It’s located just south of the Johnston/Brunswick Street intersection madness).
With its intimate lighting and low soundtrack, it’s the type of place you can settle in for a chat with friends or lovers. The fit-out features dark furnishings, a lengthy bar made from reclaimed wood, plush vegan leather couches, and a rotating selection of local artwork. (The initial art installations all come from creative hospitality pros working in notable venues around town.)
Twenty seven unmarked taps line the back bar. Frankly, we’d expect nothing less from a team boasting decades of beer experience between them. However, a number of those taps are dedicated to local wines, signature cocktails, and house made sodas. Keeping the majority of their drinks in kegs is all part of Bonny’s low waste, low packaging sustainability mission. (Making the switch to metal straws is great, but hospitality venues regularly throw out bins full of glass and cans every night.) Local Brunswick winery Noisy Ritual features prominently on the menu. Interestingly, pouring their wine through a tap system actually helps keep the wine tasting fresher and prevents oxidation, compared to pouring from a previously opened bottle.
The team’s passion for beer is evident throughout the menu. Their six signature pre-batched cocktails all contain some element of beer. Ex. the Spencer is served with Australian whisky and a spiced stout reduction and the Charlie contains Australian gin and a house hopped vermouth. The sodas are also all made in-house. There’s bitter marmalade lemonade made with boiled lemon husk; it serves as a tonic replacement and contains much less sugar. (Hooray!) The spicy jalapeno, green capsicum, cucumber & coriander soda is crying out for tequila, but it’s equally delicious on its own. If you have any friends in the midst of Feb Fast, these inexpensive, flavourful beverages are perfect for non-drinkers.
The tight and considered drinks menu is dedicated to independent and interesting beverages (at reasonable prices). The food menu takes a similar approach, with Henry Sugar is taking over the kitchen for the next three months. The no frills Spanish/Australian inspired menu is designed by a Michelin trained chef and includes items such as gluten free crickets roasted with peanuts, lime & pepperleaf and a vegetarian lentil parfait served with port jelly.
Bonny is the newest venue from three passionate beer experts. However, it’s a nice place anyone can go for a nice drink, nice food, and a nice time. If you’d like to experience Bonny’s hospitality for yourself, the team are giving anyone who attends their opening night launch party a free drink between 4:30-6:30pm.
Jenny Schmidt is an event adventurer. When she’s not attending live shows, you can find her sampling the latest craft beer or sipping a creative cocktail.
Bonny features the talents of local hospitality pros Shayne Dixon, Joshua Crawford, and Mike Baker, and Adam Betts.
Bonny Bar & Kitchen
177 Brunswick Street Fitzroy
Melbourne, VIC 3065
Images by Paul Kristoff