When a roof fire forced Bar None to close back in January, the owners were hit pretty hard. The fires occurred just two weeks after their new upstairs space had launched, and although it seemed there was minimal damage caused to the downstairs bar, the whole space was declared unsafe and extensive repairs had to be undertaken. Due to the Queensland floods, getting the insurance approved was difficult and the construction took longer than expected, but much to the delight of the owners – Michael and Genevieve Cotter – Bar None is now fully operational again.
Tucked down a laneway on the Hawthorn East side of Camberwell, the local favourite is a secret refuge for cocktail enthusiasts in an area traditionally starved of good bars. They’ve kept the colours and format of the bar more or less the same, which means lots of big comfy couches, tables to gather around and a homely living room feel. New lighting by HUB furniture sees matte black spheres dangle above each table. Downstairs the focus remains on table service, with an emphasis on their extensive and creative cocktail list. Upstairs is a more relaxed room with bar service and standing room.
The martini glasses full of m&m’s are still available, as is a range of toasted sandwiches, including a classic Reuben sandwich, inspired by a recent trip to America.
Cotter’s new found fondness for American food has also materialised in a mobile food van called Gumbo Kitchen. A project himself and business partners Elvin Ho and Patricia Stanton came up with while waiting for their insurance to be approved. The roaming food mobile serves up authentic po-boys and will be hitting the road shortly. For those who’ve never ventured to the deep south, a po-boy is a traditional New Orleans sandwich served in a special baguette-style bun. It nearly always contains deep fried seafood (often prawns), but sometimes has other meats instead. Cotter is a traditionalist and pretty passionate about serving authentic food, so he generally sticks with the shrimp.
72 Auburn Parade, Camberwell
(03) 9882 1086
Tues to Wed 4pm–midnight
Fri & Sat 4pm–2am