Opening last week and taking its cues from Cuba’s golden age, Los Barbudos is the latest project from the Thank You Come Again team (the folks behind Lily Blacks, Double Happiness, New Gold Mountain and Mr Wow’s Emporium).
The name is a nod to the hirsute members of Fidel Castro’s guerrilla army baseball team, Los Barbudos (meaning 'bearded ones'). Not long after he seized power in 1959, Castro and his teammates played a friendly exhibition game against a local military police team in the lead up to a major league Havana Sugar Kings baseball game.
Clearly, baseball was and still is a big deal in Cuba, and the atmospheric, low-lit space houses a fun, curious assortment of vintage Cuban ephemera, from old baseballs and framed photographs to black and white reruns of 1950s Cuban games from the tiny old TV behind the bar.
Naturally, there’s no shortage of rum. There’s beer and wine too, but the festive nature of the place seems to call for cocktails, available from the capable (and suitably bearded) team behind the bar.
The bar’s adjoining back garage is soon to play host to its very own in-house food truck, El Paladar, thanks to the crew from Chingon and Dr. Juicy Jay’s Fried Chicken and Crab Shack. The truck will be turning out tasty Caribbean-inspired bar snacks until late. Think lamb empanadas, spiced chicken wings with Cuban rice or hearty tostones con frijoles (fried green plantains with smoked black beans). Until El Paladar is installed, expect a rotating roster of food trucks to satisfy in the meantime.
95 Smith Street, Fitzroy
(03) 9416 0079
Wed to Thur 5pm–midnight