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.
Is a pub really a pub without the schnitzel and chips? Head chef Tracy Archer thinks so. In the downstairs kitchen, her answer is a Panko-crumbed free-range chicken burger with Kewpie coleslaw and tonkatsu sauce, and sweet-potato fries. The rest is veg and seafood heavy – fresher than your average pub grub. (The rooftop kitchen is more meat-driven.)
There’s also booze in the food. No sad side salads here – they’re tossed with hard-lemonade or cider dressing. There’s black IPA in the cheese fondue, and New England pale ale in the bread. Buzzed-up carrot tops (that would otherwise be discarded) are used to make the pesto.
There’s also a bottle shop stocked with growlers and squealers to take away, plus a small florist curated by Evie Harrison.
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