Opened last month, Two Row is a joint effort by beer advocate Tiffany Waldron and Slow Beer founders Chris Menichelli and Stewart Went. And although the beer credentials of this team are a feature of Two Row, it is a different beast to Slow Beer. It is a full-blown bar, decorated with handsome timber walls and tables, fresh flowers and cute jars of malted barley. The venue is named for this last item; two row is a type of barley used to make more reputable beers, while six row is commonly found in cheap‘n’nasty lagers.
The whole thing began after an innocent tweet in April 2013. “I was like, 'When do I get my own bar?'” says Waldron, who runs social media for various breweries. “Chris messaged me: 'How serious are you?'” The pair began assembling Two Row's formidable menu. It now includes 14 standard brews which represent the best local versions of every style, ranging from Mountain Goat's easy-drinking Steam Ale, to Mornington Peninsula's robust IPA. There's also a seasonal list and a multi-page cellar selection which maxes out at a decadent $50 for a 330mililitre bottle.
The bar's ever-changing taps are the main attraction, though. On any given day you might find a Danish wheat beer or an American IPA. Whatever the latest drops, they have a friend in the ritzy grilled-cheese menu, where breads such as fig and fennel sourdough are matched with pungent slices of blue. “Beer and cheese, to me, is the perfect thing,” Waldron says. “Chris really wanted to focus on meat and beer. But we went with the cheese angle because neither of us wanted to work with a chef.”
With the latest addition of Two Row, Smith Street's NoJo (north of Johnston) stretch has something to offer every kind of beer enthusiast.