When Bouvardia opened last year, the CBD got a seriously inventive cocktail spot. Forget the classics – venue manager Dom Garreffa took Noma chef René Redzepi’s fondness for fermentation and whipped up mixes like the B.A.B., a fermented play on black-apple brandy; and Honey, I Burnt the Yogurt, a non-alcoholic cocktail starring Greek yogurt cooked over four days.

Pomelo is the new rooftop bar directly above Bouvardia, and while it has the same dedication to killer booze, it tries to be a little less serious than its sibling.

“We talk about a really extreme juxtaposition between the two venues,” Garreffa tells Broadsheet. “Up here is very much the rooftop we need right now. Really fun party drinks, but kind of retaining the same seriousness of quality and producers.”

There’s a candy-shop vibe to the sun-drenched space, and not just because of the zippy paint job. The drinks all have some sort of novelty to them, in both flavour and presentation. Pomelo snagged one of the brand new Moon Dog Fizzer post-mix machines, which churn out a rotating selection of the brand’s hard seltzers with that drive-through efficiency.

Other hard seltzers are made and canned in-house. “We’re creating a zero-waste loop … so all our wastage from the Bouvardia cocktail menu is repurposed to seltzers up here,” says Garreffa. It means that new cocktails running through Bouvardia get a reinvention at Pomelo. “We’re repurposing, for instance, purple carrot from downstairs which is in one of the new cocktails, and it’s gone into a raspberry, purple carrot and mountain pepper seltzer.” Bouvardia’s crowd favourite, the wildly colourful Major Tom, lends its fermented passionfruit and blue curaçao flavours to a neon-green seltzer called Minor Tom.

There are boozy $8 slushies, too – like the Green-a Colada – served in mini, 150-millilitre cups, so you don’t end up with a glass of thawed syrup in the end. “The idea is people who come to the bar have a seltzer in one hand and a tiny slushie in the other,” Garreffa says.

What isn’t being made in-house has still been carefully thought through, with a pét-nat list designed to showcase the more complex side of the park-friendly wine. There are picks from WA’s Brave New Wine, NSW’s Frankly This Wine Was Made by Bob, and a vintage version by Victoria’s Friends of Punch, which is said to taste kind of like salted popcorn.

Sound like there’s a lot going on? Well, there is. But for Garreffa and the Pomelo team, that’s the point. “Basically, the idea with this venue was just to throw everything at it,” Garreffa says. “All the colour and every single drink we’d like to drink on a rooftop.”

Pomelo Rooftop
Level 3 169 Melbourne Place, Melbourne

Hours:
Tue to Sun 3pm–11pm

pomelorooftop.com.au