“People are so serious, especially in Melbourne hospitality,” says Zachary Riggs, co-owner of Chapel Street’s newest faux-luxe bar that is underneath The Olsen.
“It is a restaurant first of all, but then it’s very much a dive,” says Riggs who is also co-owner of the nearby Drugstore Espresso. “You dine then dive,” says fellow Two Wrongs co-owner, Isaac Constantine. “It’s fine diving.”
Together they want to provide a “grungier experience” says Constantine, south of the river, while having a laugh, too. For example: Two Wrongs is for those who appreciate style and class, as well as the option of playing Nintendo while you wait for a table.
From the crystal glassware to the Versace cutlery and the all-male bartender line-up, everything is shamelessly absurd. Renaissance artwork on the walls is covered in graffiti blacklit with UV lights. Bright-pink bar stools line the bar, which is built from cinder blocks, and a trash-filled shopping trolley serves as a host stand by the front door. It’s all cheesy novelty meets good cocktails.
Try the Rhymed With Orange, an Aperol, Campari and Amaro Montenegri sweet and bitter concoction. Beers come in cans only, except for a limited selection on tap which pours in two sizes: a 285-mililitre pot or a 473-mililitre “Booj” which resembles a glass tinnie and measures halfway between a pot and a pint.
The menu by chef Paul Turner (previously of Church Street Enoteca and Cutler & Co.) is designed around fine food that is “more approachable so everyone can relate to elements of the dish,” says Riggs.
“[Turner] comes from the fine-dining world whereas, we like to eat street food,” says Riggs.
Sharing options include mac’n’cheese with truffled popcorn; soft-shell crab cones with papaya and miso; and a trio of pulled-pork filled doughnuts. For something bigger, there’s more solo options including beef short ribs with broccoli, beer and nettle, or chicken and dumplings in a twice-cooked broth. For dessert, there’s a Kinder Surprise-inspired egg that involves white chocolate, passionfruit and macadamia.
Come summertime, the glass windows pull back between the indoor bar and curb-side seating. For larger groups of up to 20, there are wooden booths upstairs concealed by an ornamental shower curtain, which is again, Versace.
On your way up to the second level, you’ll notice a hundred or more strategically placed butter knives stabbed into the wall, they spell “fork this place”. By the time you’ve taken in everything else in this place though, it seems like a perfectly rational thing to do.
The Olsen, 637 Chapel Street, South Yarra
Wed to Sun 5pm–1am