Sparkke at the Whitmore
A pub headed by women is a distinction worth noting. The hospitality and alcohol industries have historically been dominated by men. It’s a key reason Sparkke made such an impact when it launched its line of socially conscious beers in 2016. (The tinnies are emblazoned with slogans such as “Consent Can’t Come After You Do”, “Change the Date” and “Boundless Plains to Share”.)
You can get Sparkke’s beers on tap at its 850-square-metre, 636-person-capacity behemoth venue in the 180-year-old Whitmore Hotel on Morphett Street. The fit-out is softened-up industrial, but sits comfortably with the pub’s early history. An original Georgian frontage is preserved behind floor-to-ceiling glass. In the restaurant, painstakingly preserved brickwork runs into blush-pink archways. Up on the rooftop, there are city views on one side and the perfect vantage point into the treetops of Whitmore Square on the other.
In the thick of it all is head brewer Agi Gajic’s lab. The nano-brewery yields around 50,000 litres of limited-release, keg-only beer yearly. You'll find the beer shaken up in a few of the cocktails: ginger beer in the Dark & Stormy, strawberry-balsamic blonde ale in the Sour, and the “Say I Do” fizzing up the spritzes.
In mid-2020, founding head chef Emma McCaskill stepped back from her role. She still consults for Sparkke, and there are still signs of her influence on the menu. Start with McCaskill's famous paratha (a layered, roti-style flat bread) or pork and ginger dumplings in chicken broth before moving onto a curried lentil and beetroot salad, chicken schnitzel burger with curry-leaf mayo, or Angus beef rump cap with sweet and sour tomatoes.
There’s also a bottle shop stocked with growlers and squealers to take away, plus a small florist curated by Evie Harrison.