As the ’80s sitcom Cheers showed us, good neighbourhood bars are often about more than eating and drinking – they’re places to meet new friends and nurture the ensuing relationships. That’s the hope at this bistro-slash-cocktail bar-slash-wine-bar, with a name that plays on the French words “bel ami” (or “good friend”).
Much like the name, the menu is kind of French, and kind of not. Small plates might include oysters drizzled in hot sauce, mussel croquettes, chicken-liver-parfait cannoli, and devilled eggs, as well as larger plates like a veal schnitzel Holstein (served with a fried egg, anchovies and lemon-caper sauce).
The bar’s owners are married couple Danielle and Oska Whitehart. He worked at some of Melbourne’s top cocktail bars, including The Everleigh, Bad Frankie and Gimlet. And her cafe background includes well-loved eateries Archie’s All Day and Sibling.
Accordingly, visitors at Bar Bellamy can request just about anything to drink, though Martinis are a specialty. There are rotating twists on the classic Martini, such as the past “Lupini Tini” with sake and lupini-bean brine, as well as a variety of signature cocktails. Plus, a compact wine list and a variety of local and international beers.
The space fits neatly into its cosy Rathdowne Street surrounds. The charming fit-out (designed by Britt Hill of John Wardle Architects) takes cues from the menu’s European influences. The warmly lit walls feature a Libby Haines artwork and a custom stained-glass piece by local artist Aoife Fitzpatrick (aka Thursday Glass).
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