The Tipsy Cow Malt & Vine Co is a small, neighbourhood cocktail lounge that recently opened on Bay Street in Port Melbourne. Inside you’ll find plush leather couches, throw rugs and cushions inside, and outside a small beer garden. Upstairs, there’s another quiet lounge. You're also likely to be greeted by a friendly sniff from Nisha the dog, before she leans into your legs, looking for a pat.
Nisha is not only the bar’s resident dog, but also its inspiration. Co-owner Anupam Sharma became frustrated looking for places where she was allowed to hang out inside and study with Nisha at her side. So Sharma, who is an emergency veterinarian, and her partner Paul Tudor decided to open The Tipsy Cow.
Sharma says having dogs in a small space hasn't been a problem and, in the short time since opening, they've had five or six in at once without issue – it’s actually been good for business.
“Sometimes people come in who don't have dogs to say hi to the dogs. And there have been times when people say hi to a dog and then leave,” she says.
Other than being puppy positive, the bar is all about cocktails and whisky. Tudor worked as a cocktail bartender in the UK and the couple share a love of bourbon and whisky from around the world.
The cocktails are priced in two categories: house cocktails are $18, which includes basics such as Negronis or Mojitos; and anything on the boozier premium list will set you back $23. The latter features Sazeracs and Martinis, including an Espresso Martini made with Aztec chocolate bitters.
And if nothing on the two-page list takes your fancy, then the team will whip up a customised drink to suit your mood. For whisky fans there are names such as Woodford Reserve, Caol Ila and Laphroaig. Prices start from $8 for a Ballantine’s and go up to $31 for a Talisker 18-year-old single malt.
The wine list is mostly local, with some Spanish and Kiwi wines in the mix. Most are available by the glass and come as a regular 175-millilitre pour, as well as a 250-millilitre pour for those who want to spend more time with their pets rather than refreshing their drink.
The bar also throws its support behind the Save-A-Dog Scheme by hosting regular adoption days. Who knows, maybe you'll stop in for a cocktail and leave with a new best friend. That wouldn't be so bad, would it?
The Tipsy Cow Malt & Vine Co
359 Bay St, Port Melbourne VIC 3207
(03) 9681 9076
Tue to Thurs 4pm–11pm