Above the Retreat Hotel on Sydney Road lies new bar Amelia Shaw. Spread over four rooms, the haven-like bar and salon is bringing a bit of polish to Brunswick. Owners Clint Fisher and Kathleen Clarke are behind the venture, named in honour of the pub’s first licensee back in 1842.
Amelia Shaw is part of the new wave of Brunswick venues like Albert St Food & Wine starting to raise the bar in terms of quality design. Fisher and Clarke commissioned designer Danielle Brustman to do the interiors, giving her free rein. Recently returned from New York, Brustman drew on her visits to Harlem jazz haunts and her experiences as a set and interior designer to create a space that proves fun, idiosyncratic and theatrical.
On entry, you’ll be welcomed by an image of Louise Brooks, a 60s Japanese hotel chandelier and the unusual and rare mid-century art deco cane furnishings. It’s an eclectic mix that somehow works and is continued throughout the other rooms. The main bar takes its cues from West Coast deco with some intriguing constructivist and contemporary twists, not to mention a hand-painted geometric mural.
The cocktail menu is straight out of Palm Springs in the 60s, keeping in theme with the interior's salubrious and airy nonchalance. There’s an Australian twist in both name and product, with Tasi Tasmanian Bush Liquor used in the ‘Banjo Patterson’, and there’s also a ‘Kir Rosella’ (a twist on the Kir Royale).
There’s certainly a lot to take in at Amelia Shaw. One room features both a round pool table and a pink trestle washbasin, both of which somehow work together. In fact, that’s the general feeling around Amelia Shaw. A cocktail bar in Brunswick? A round pool table? Somehow these things shouldn’t work, but at Amelia Shaw they come together beautifully.
Level 1, 280 Sydney Road, Brunswick
0412 907 847
Fri & Sat 6pm–3am