William Bligh was a British naval officer who sailed to Australia in the late 1700s. He was appointed Governor of New South Wales after the turn of the century and tried to stop rum being used as currency – dubbed the “Rum Rebellion”.
First-time bar owner Jarrod Hales is behind the East End’s newest addition, named ironically in Bligh’s honour. “He tried to stop [the rum trade],” says Hales, “and we’re going to bring it back.”
Melbourne-born Hales moved to Adelaide in 2004 and has worked in bars and pubs since 2009. “Spirits come in waves,” he says. He hopes his foray into venue ownership will mark the start of a “rum phase” in Adelaide.
The 60-person space on Vardon Avenue will “look like the bowels of a ship”, complete with a timber-clad ceiling – paying homage to Bligh’s journey from England to Australia. The fit-out will feature a copper-topped bar made from Moonta Bay train sleepers, a mezzanine level, booth seating and a communal red gum table. Like its East End neighbours, The William Bligh will have streetside seating.
“People don’t know much about rum,” says Hales. His staff will be trained to educate on the lesser-known spirit and tasting notes will float around the bar. There are also plans for free monthly tastings.
The bar will stock 23 different kinds of rum from countries such as Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Portugal. First-pours include Captain Morgan and Pompero alongside top-shelf stuff like 15-year-old Cubaney and Ron Zacapa XO.
The cocktail list will cover “the classics”, with rum-based variations made using fresh ingredients and a strictly no-liqueur policy. Hales also mentions two signature “off-menu” items.
It’s not just rum; standard spirits, bottled boutique beers and wine will be offered. Coffee will round out the daytime trade and there are plans for a spiked-rum option (it will be licenced from 11am). The kitchen will serve gourmet toasties and cheese and meat platters.
The William Bligh will open in mid-April. It will operate from Tuesday to Sunday, with late-night trading on Friday and Saturday evenings.
The William Bligh
33 Vardon Avenue, Adelaide