Until 2016 Solomon Street was just another disused West End laneway brimming with potential. Then Sunny’s Pizza and Fairweather happened.
They occupy two of three spots in the Powerplant Building – a former car park. “Polished-up” dive bar Cry Baby is the last piece of the puzzle.
Plant your feet on the black-penny-round-tiled entranceway. Look down. “Cry Baby” is stamped in contrasting white tiles. Two towering metal doors were purpose-built then left outside to rust.
By night a pink haze engulfs the bar, emanating from a very on-trend, custom-made neon sign that spells out “Cry Baby” (in Di Pinto’s dad’s handwriting). It’s reflected in the super shiny lacquered-concrete floor. Sprawling bottle-green booths topped with Tasmanian oak line the walls. A similarly green subway-tiled hallway leads to the toilets. It’s the first-ever bar design for StudioAKA’s Amy Grundy, not that you’d know.
A strip of pink LED lights wash over the black-and-white-tiled bar. In the so-called “party corner”, strike up a game of pool or throw a few bucks in the original ’72 jukebox. It’s chock-full of rock’n’roll-only records handpicked by Di Pinto. You might spy the Janis Joplin tune (a Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters cover) the bar’s named after. Despite a haul of 300-odd bottles of spirits, there’s no list. Di Pinto bought mostly single bottles, and went bonkers on the tequila and bourbon.
The one-page cocktail list is easy to navigate. House cocktail “London Calling” (gin, sherry and lemon juice) shares its name, fittingly, with the Clash’s late-’70s classic.
All-Australian craft beers pour from 12 taps; Young Henrys, Mismatch, Fox Hat and Clare Valley Brewing are a few mainstays. Local vintners Alpha Box & Dice and Down the Rabbit Hole head up the wine list.
Food is fuss-free. Choose from two charcuterie-and-cheese platters: big or small. Or snag an American-style hot dog from the cart.