When we visited the Bucket Boys bar back in December, the list of beers available on tap had already changed twice. And it had only been open for three weeks.
“It rotates constantly,” says co-owner Johnathan Hepner (ex-Batch Brewing Co). “We might have got ourselves in big trouble by rotating 10 taps all at once, but the idea is to keep it fresh as much as possible.
“If you’re going to claim to have a cool beer offering, there are only a certain number of people who are going to come, and if they come back every week and it’s the same taps on, they’re going to get bored. I’ll get bored.”
The bar arrived just over a year after the Bucket Boys street-level bottle shop. Hepner says a bar was always part of the plan. “This is like the cream. If it does okay, then we’re doing all right. If this does well, then we’re doing awesome.”
Aside from the 10 independent taps, there’s also a fridge of rare cellared bottles. At the time of our visit, the most expensive is a $160 Black Tuesday Imperial Stout from The Bruery in the US, which Hepner received through a friend who runs one of the company’s tasting rooms in Los Angeles.
“You can think of it almost like a wine vintage list when you go to a wine bar, but a lot of the bottles in that fridge, we only have one bottle of,” he says. “The idea is, you get a group of people, you buy a 750ml bottle that’s $70 or $80 – it’d be something amazing you’ve never had before – and you split it between four people. It’s a nice experience. You could easily have a bottle of wine for 80 bucks, so it’s not crazy.”
But the coolest thing about having a bar now, Hepner says, is that patrons can purchase any beer at the bottle shop, take it upstairs and drink it for a small corkage fee. Thursday to Sundays it’s $4 for anything less than $10, and $7 for anything over $10. On Wednesdays it’s free.
While beer might be the focus, Bucket Boys also has a strong wine list featuring Dodgy Brothers, Unico Zelo and BK Wines. Hepner credits his business partner Clint Elvin for it.
“We have wine reps come all the time and tell us our list is really great, especially downstairs where there’s tonnes of natural wines, skin contacts, wild ferment – all the cool buzzwords.”
Hepner says there’s another benefit of having both a shop and bar. “You can go to Batch and get Batch’s beer, or to Grifter and get Grifter beers, or you can come here and get everybody’s beer. It’s this cool little hub and that’s what we like to think of ourselves as ... We know Marrickville is a beer destination and we want to be the destination for beer in Marrickville.”
Bucket Boys Bar
Level 1, 300 Illawarra Road, Marrickville
0431 614 578
Wed to Sat 5pm–12am