Bar No. 5 lives up to the term “local spot” – it’s in a converted warehouse in a quiet pocket of Alexandria among urban residential developments. Inside you’ll find well-executed cocktails, live music and tables with designated dog spots.
Bar manager (ex-Archie Rose) Alex O’Brien says the exterior can be deceptive. “Customers have said they thought it’s a normal warehouse from far away until they heard music or chatter, looked through the door and realised it’s a bar and bistro,” he says. “We were really interested in finding the balance between keeping the rusted, quirky character of the warehouse and making it comfortable.”
The light-filled space has been fitted with a giant metal bar bench, acting as a workplace for crafting experimental cocktails – and a new drinks menu is in the making.
“There are three elements to the new menu, which will be in motion within the coming months,” O’Brien says. “The first is to maintain closed-loop bartending, which revolves around reduced waste mentality. We can use left-over skin from lemon and limes and repurpose them for soft drinks, syrups and vinegars. It’s incredible, we’ve managed to completely get rid of a general waste bin now.”
The second element comes from O’Brien’s fascination with native flora and locally made produce. “We will be using everything from Australian spirits, to native plants like lemon myrtle and pepper berries.”
And the third? Running foraging courses in parks close to Alexandria. “Plants that people consider weeds can make for beautiful ingredients in drinks,” O’Brien says.
You can tell the kitchen and bar work closely together with menu options like maple and cider pork belly, or gin and tonic cheesecake for dessert. The bistro loosely revolves around Australian and American cuisines. The menu is inspired by being at the family table with fresh, homemade food, including share plates with meat, seafood or vegetables.
The menu will change all the time, depending on what’s in season. “We make sure we can pick it up from a local market and put it straight on the menu to the table,” says O’Brien.