Long-awaited Mr Goodbar quietly opened its Union Street doors early this month, moments after tradesmen packed up tools.
The former IT office space is in the East End Produce Market archway. It’s a prime location, but one that presented plenty of challenges. The impressive feature window that looks out over the cafes and boutique stores of Ebenezer Place also overlooks apartments.
“There was a bit of controversy with the application because there’s a residential building here but I knew we were doing it for the right reasons,” says owner Goran Dedic, a carpenter by trade. “It will be beneficial to the East End.”
The chief issues he had to tackle were waste management and noise pollution. High-quality soundproofing and laminated glass windows aim to keep the frivolous times contained and the neighbours happy.
The space, designed by local architectural team Studio-Gram, takes inspiration from the Deep South and soul music. Tongue-in-cheek touches include an altar to Saint Amand – the patron saint of bartenders – and neon praying hands. A crucifix tile motif borders the black marble bar, and the faces of blues and soul icons watch out over snug booths. A DJ spins old-school soul, funk and blues.
Downstairs is the moody aperitif bar, serving amaro, vermouth, Americanos, Negronis and Lillet. Upstairs, the heritage windows spill natural light over a split-level space comprising the main bar, booths and a sunken area dotted with intimate nooks for two and a communal table.
General manager Owen Colin cut his teeth at Melbourne’s Black Pearl and Sydney’s Eau De Vie, and was brand ambassador for Glenfiddich. “It was good to come back to Adelaide and be part of helping to shape what’s happening with the small bars movement at the moment,” he says.
Colin helped open Hindley Street’s Four Doors Plus One and worked at Peel Street’s Chihuahua before taking on Mr Goodbar. “It’s interesting to see what’s happening on this side of town,” he says. “If you want high-quality beer you’ve got the choice of Belgian Beer Café and NOLA. For quality wines, you’ve got Street-ADL, Mother Vine, East End Cellars and Stag.”
Where does Mr Goodbar fit in? “It will be the best spot for cocktails this side of the city,” he says. “We’ve got a cheat sheet that’s about 120 cocktails long at the moment. That’s just the classics.”
The wine list was put together with the help of Connect Vines’ Mark Reginato and includes natural wines and brands people won’t necessarily recognise. That’s where head bartender Mike Knot comes in, previously the mix-master at Thrift Shop, but there are also bottled cocktails available in the downstairs bar.
“Say you’re on a lunch break, you can have a drink that’s really full of flavour but very low in alcohol and you can get back to work fine,” Colin says. “Or, if you just want to start the night, an aperitif is a great way to get the palate going.”
A small menu of bar snacks including Jamaican beef patties, crab cakes, cheese plates and charcuterie plates is served upstairs, too.
“It’s a fun bar,” says Colin. “We don’t want to be pretentious. We’re not going to be competing with anyone else in Adelaide – our goal is to compete with people interstate. Worldwide domination is the next step. We’ve got very lofty goals.”
12 Union Street, East End
0487 711 166
Wed & Thu 3pm–12am