Windsor’s newest watering hole champions Australia, but it’s about showcasing the best the country has to offer, rather than gimmicky Australiana.
Galah – named so because the pink birds are said to lead you to a drink if you’re ever lost in the bush – is the project of Steph Mauer (ex-Bird Watching Society, Bosozoku), property developer Tim Garbis and Strawberry Fields music festival co-founder Billy Staughton.
The trio turned an old panel beater’s storage facility into a sleek spot for a drink. Architect Marie Le Touze (also Staughton’s partner) helped with the design.
“We had to do all the window reglazing, rip out the beams and redo the whole roof and waterproofing, add insulation, and all the floors had to be cut back and repolished,” Staughton says of the grueling 12-month process.
“We loved the space’s inherent characteristics – the exposed brick and the raw concrete – but we definitely underestimated the restoration,” Garbis adds.
The impressive space has a five-metre high ceiling, and is bordered by booths upholstered in velvet and leather. It’s dimly lit at night, and the fireplace should help create a cosy atmosphere in winter. The attached smoking room will soon feature a cactus garden.
The long bar is made from ironbark timber, reclaimed from an old bridge in Queensland. A staircase to the mezzanine level above the bar is planned, after which DJs and bands will play to patrons below.
As for the drinks, Garbis says, “The Australian wine and spirit industry is growing worldwide and gaining momentum. It’d be silly not to take the opportunity to showcase it.”
Drink a Four Pillars gin, or try Shene Estate & Distillery’s Poltergeist whisky from Tasmania. Or tip a cold Hawke’s Brewing Co. lager to our former prime minister. The cocktail list is home to the classics and Australian twists such the Bloody Galah or a eucalyptus-oil highball.
The kitchen will follow the lead of the drinks list. Raclette comes from an Australian cheese producer, and the charcuterie board features locally cured meats. It’s a limited menu for now, until the full list is unveiled in February.
Soon there’ll also be a bottle shop downstairs, stocking natural wines such as Victoria’s Between Five Bells, and beers. The odd international bottle will slip in here and there.
“We’ll still stock French champagne. And there’ll be bottles of wine from Italy and France, but Australian is definitely the focus,” Mauer says.
216a High Street, Windsor
Thu to Sat 4pm–1am