Fiona Kelly and David Beaumont run a mini Salt “empire”.
First came Salt Contemporary Gallery, which they opened in 2004 to showcase the work of contemporary Australian artists. The 100-year-old building was originally a furniture and drapery store. Beaumont has his studio upstairs, but the lofty upper floor was vacant. So the husband-and-wife team decided to bring a little bit of Melbourne bar culture to sleepy Queenscliff.
Through the gallery and up the creaking wooden staircase, you’ll arrive at Salt Lounge. Beaumont’s love of Danish furniture is immediately apparent. The dimly lit space is a jungle of palm trees, vintage wood and leather. You can sink into a plush lounge in a dark corner and sup on cocktails in crystal, while the smooth sounds of the 1950s create the vibe. There’s a fireplace to keep toasty in the cooler months, and balcony for sunny afternoons.
The liquid repertoire is primarily cocktails, local wine and neat spirits. Try the Poet’s Dream of fresh lime, pomegranate juice, vodka and Cointreau topped with fairy floss; or the Don Draper – gin, vodka and Lillet Blanc shaken and served in a vintage crystal glass.
The tapas menu draws inspiration from its ocean surrounds. There are freshly shucked oysters with lime and chilli; and baby clams with jamón, white wine, garlic and Alchemy wood-fired sourdough.
The space also hosts artist talks and live music. The couple finished building studio accommodation out the back in 2015 – which makes sipping and staying fairly convenient.
Explore Queenscliff further using our detailed Out of Town to Queenscliff guide.