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The Ones That Nearly Got Away

With so much eating and drinking at the ‘Farewell Festival’, it’s getting hard to squeeze the food in, let alone squeeze the time in to update the blog. There have been quite a lot of good, bad and indifferent eating experiences over the last few weeks but for some reason, the Bars never seem to make it into print. So, in an effort to address this injustice and offer options to those who will remain on the fatal shore, I offer the following:

Located at the ‘wrong end of Collins Street’ (so that’s not the Paris end then), Negroni is many things. A cellar bar, a wine bar, an espresso bar and apparently, a bit of a deli. Whilst perusing the wine list, I snacked on some complimentary olives at the bar (only a matter of time before the health inspectors knock that one on the head) and watched as some charcuterie from the display cabinet was sliced for an antipasto platter. The overall venue is large but the bars themself are intimate with ample seating and opulent surroundings – plenty of marble, chandeliers, leather, mirrors and velvet (very Baz). An extensive wine list but alas, no credit card for purchases of under $15 (and no offer by the staff to start a tab). Definitely worth a visit for after work drinks or pre ‘Vue de Monde’

477 Collins St, Melbourne. Ph: (03) 9614 1319

Bar Barossa
A good deal of publicity and hype has been generated about this bar but unlike Cloudland, Bar Barossa actually managed to make their opening date and therefore deserve a pat on the back for all of their efforts. It’s a bit of a hike down to the ‘wrong end of Queen St’ which is a pity as that’s where some of the best places were (vale Circa) or are (
Ecco Bistro). The Story Bridge end of Queen Street is going through a renaissance which means all of those apartments with great water view are about to be built out by apartments with great with water views.

Billed as a Bar, it’s really a restaurant with proper tables, cutlery, napery etc. People having just a drink are welcome but the focus is on dining and drinking (I suggest a name change). The emphasis is firmly on wines of the Barossa but there are many, many, many quality wines from throughout Australia, new Zealand and the rest of the world. There is a large selection by the bottle (Henschke Hill of Grace at $20 000 a bottle) but considering it’s emphasis on the Barossa, it was disappointing to see only 1 Barossa Shiraz by the glass. We had the 2006 Radford Shiraz from the Eden Valley, SA ($15 glass). As it was opening week and Wayne Dutschke had visited, they were also highlighting his wines by the glass. The 2005 GHR Four Vineyards Shiraz was sold out so it was the 2006 St Jakobi Single Vineyard Shiraz – fantastic value at $7 a glass. Complimentary olives here too – but your own dish rather than a communal bowl.

Whilst the street address is Queen St, it’s technically on Adelaide St, opposite Macrossan St. This posed a bit of a problem as cars departing Macrossan continuously shone their headlights into the venue and right into the face of diners. We were originally perched at the bar, looking directly into the oncoming traffic but moved to a table where the lights were not as glaring but still quite obtrusive.

What posed a bigger problem was being overcharged by $27. A simple mistake by the bar staff but when we walked back to query our bill, the cashier had a stunned ‘deer in the headlights’ look and clearly didn’t know what to do. It appeared as if she was going to go on the defensive and argue the charge but thankfully, one of the senior staff stepped in and cheerfully refunded the money. This is just a teething problem but I hope the next time we return that a) they have frosted those windows; b) the list of wines by the glass is longer and c) they have improved their billing technique. Despite these quibbles, it’s certainly worth a visit if you are at the ‘wrong end of town’.

Bar Barossa
545 Queen St, Brisbane Ph: (07)3832 3530

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