Located behind the ornate facade of the heritage-listed Tavistock House, this 25-seat bar and diner is a short distance from the Queen’s Bridge and its now-lost Yarra Falls – once a traditional meeting place for the Aboriginal peoples of the Kulin nation, the Woiwurrung and the Boonwurrung, who used it as a crossing point between their respective lands.
From consultation with the traditional landowners and his own extensive research, owner Brendan Keown (ex-Baxter Inn, Hotel Esplanade) is acknowledging the history of the falls, which were demolished in 1883 to prevent flooding during colonial settlement.
The centrepiece – a striking indoor waterfall behind the bar – reflects the country its traditional owners knew, pre-colonisation. Native flora punctuates the flowing water and a mural of the landscape above it. Keown is keen to reinforce that Yarra Falls acknowledges a real history – it’s not a novelty experience.
Much of the drinks list nods to native botanicals and Victorian producers. Cocktails are vibrant, weaving local drops like Grainshaker vodka and Marionette peach liqueur with botanicals like the lurid purple of pigface petals. There’s a house-made amaro, too, combining botanicals from within five kilometres of the bar, including golden wattle seed, lemon myrtle and green figs (not native but plentiful).
You’ll also find rotating beers from Westside Ale Works (served in pots only) and wines in a mix of interesting but approachable styles. A short menu of seasonal snacks is also available.
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