“There is no place quite like this place.” So reads the hand-written note scrawled in chalk that greets you when you disembark from the lift at 52 York Street. In an area best known for laneway speakeasies and basement hideaways, The Rook sets itself apart by aiming high. For the seventh floor, more accurately.
Since opening in 2012, the place has come under the wing of the Dixon Hospitality group. It took the helm in summer 2016 with the attitude that the bar can be whatever you need it to be.
On any given night you might find suits clinking glasses of Dom Perignon at one table. At another, a couple on its second date sipping Little Creatures and White Rabbit cider in hushed conversation. Voices rise to a steady hum at a long bench in the dining room packed with birthday dinner celebrations, as plates are whisked from the kitchen by the sharp-eyed waitstaff.
Whole lobster served with tarragon butter, potato chips and salad tops the extensive menu, which also includes shellfish clam pot; Fraser Island spanner crab spaghetti; classic burgers and a smoky, Cajun-style Andouille sausage hotdog.
If you ventured up in search of a cocktail, the list changes regularly and might include Captain Harlock’s Lost Treasure – Bundaberg small-batch rum, Bulleit bourbon, pineapple, lime and hibiscus. It’s so potent there’s a one-drink policy.