On 1950s High Street, Thornbury everyone was playing bocce. Cut to 2014 and Pallino Bar & Bocce has the ball rolling again.

Owner and Thornbury local Louise Zelencich says she opened because she needed somewhere decent to get a drink. And once she found a space, her landlord described the bocce tournaments that used to take place in the building. Then Zelenich knew she had her angle.

Architect Tarryn Joyce used the bocce pitch as inspiration for Pallino’s layout. There is a long, straight, run down the space, with space for spectators on one side of the bar and a big long space down the other. The team also used warm timber, brass, white marble and a light fixture put together by local steel worker Peter Drofenik, to echo the original terrazzo floor which was installed in 1956 when the venue was a restaurant.

Along with Italian-made cheese, buffalo mozzarella and charcuterie plates, Pallino is serving panini and pizzas delivered fresh from The Moor’s Head. Wine wise, it has a short Australian list with sangiovese, pinot grigio, sav blanc, muscato, and rosé, along with seven crafty beers on tap, including Mountain Goat’s Cross-Breed Red India Ale.

Classic cocktails, however, are the focus. Expect Manhattans, Aperol spritzes, Negronis, and a lot of espresso martinis.

While the bar is open until late, don't expect much late-night bocce - it's more of a Saturday and Sunday afternoon activity.

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Updated: March 13th, 2018

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