When passionate bartenders buy bars, it can sometimes be a recipe for disaster. They storm in, change the list and the layout and generally do a good job of alienating a loyal clientele. They put drinks that only bartenders understand or appreciate and forget that it’s the customers they need to please, not their peers.

But thankfully, the new owners of The Collection are taking things one step at a time. By tactfully replacing the drinks on the list and substituting generic syrups for fresh and homemade ingredients, they’re converting their loyal drinkers to better drinkers one at a time. In fact every second week sees an adaptation to the list based on seasonal availability and appropriateness.

It’s great to see the list giving recognition to some of the classics that have fallen by the wayside or been bastardised by generic bars. Take the Pina Colada for instance. A beautifully simple drink, that done properly is incredible. Taking a house made coconut rum, pairing it with homemade pineapple syrup and fresh lime creates a drink close to original (N.B. no cream in sight) and will go a long way to re-affirm your faith in ‘the modern classics’.

The space itself is generously sized while remaining intimate, like any good cocktail bar should be. Plans to utilise the beer garden are in the works along with redecorating and use of the upstairs space. For now, enjoy a drink on the footpath or settle into the intimate surrounds inside with black wooden flooring and subtle lighting.

The new owners have a great pedigree, having stood behind the stick at New York’s PDT and San Francisco’s Bourbon and Branch. They’ll doubtlessly turn this venture into a place that locals will come to love and the type of place you won’t hesitate to travel across town for.

So raise a glass for the ‘new’ Collection and welcome this definitive change for the better.

The Collection
328 Bridge Road, Richmond
(03) 9429 8333

thecollectionbar.com.au