Think cocktails. Think New Orleans. Think clandestine. Think Camberwell. Now combine these thoughts, shake vigorously and pour them slowly into your hospitality awareness. The result? You will find yourself in close proximity to an unmarked building located at 72 Auburn Road, most likely excitedly staring at a lit-up sign embossed with an arrow directing you to the basement. Upon descending the stairs and crossing the threshold, you realise the search is finally over. You are now fully immersed in the ambience of one of Melbourne bar culture’s iconic hidden gems, BarNone. BarNone is a self-proclaimed “secret refuge for cocktail enthusiasts”. As such, it exudes a strong yet subdued Prohibition-style speakeasy feel. Scanning the space, your eyes register an abundance of wood, soft lighting, stamped metal, vintage posters, framed black-and-white photographs, large and comfortable couches and tables sufficient to comfortably accommodate group gatherings. 

Generally speaking, you may imagine yourself standing in the middle of the ideal living room. This is no coincidence. Rather, it is precisely the experience that owners Genevieve and Michael Cotter intend to provide, with a twofold focus on table service – to treat patrons to an evening of genuine hospitality – and an extensive and creative cocktail list. As a matter of fact, the cocktail list is that extensive and that creative, it has been compiled into an official BarNone Cocktail Bible. In this establishment, not surprisingly, the words “casual” and “cocktails” do not co-mingle. BarNone honours the cocktail by making it a deadly serious business.

BarNone, Camberwell

BarNone, Camberwell


BarNone, Camberwell

BarNone, Camberwell

So, drinks wise, what can you expect? Well, quite frankly, your imagination is the only limiting variable here. With access to a back bar containing over 300 different spirits, the very knowledgeable, efficient and competent staff will make your thirst-quenching dreams come true before your very eyes. One of BarNone’s more popular signature cocktails is the Sherbet Fox. Created by bartender Luke Curham in 2017, the Sherbet Fox contains Plantation Pineapple Rum, Amaro Montenegro, Hellfire habanero shrub, pineapple syrup and is served shaken in a martini glass. Classics such as Tommy’s Margarita, the Negroni and the Classic Sazerac are also on offer. BarNone also regularly updates a Recommended Spirits list. Currently, this list is comprised of Dasher & Fisher Meadow Gin, Junipero (from San Francisco), Russell’s Reserve 10-year-old Small Batch Bourbon, Macallan 12 Year Old, Tromba Tequila, Tasmania’s very own Sullivans Cove Double-Cask Single-Malt Whisky and Arcane ‘Extraroma’ 12 Years Old, an exquisite Solera rum. And should you unlikely find yourself disappointedly staring into the BarNone Cocktail Bible, the bar staff happily caters to the “off-menu set”, as well.

If, more realistically when, martini number 2(3?) causes your stomach to consider the long-term benefits of a culinary sponge, so to speak, BarNone delivers yet again. The food menu is short and sweet, literally, and is perfectly suited to a drinking-centric environment. It is divided into a mere four parts – snacks, quesadillas, burgers and desserts – and these four parts are imbued with the spirit of American comfort food. Highlights include mac ‘n’ cheese croquettes with crystal aioli; Diego fries smothered in pulled pork, cheddar cheese, remoulade and jalapenos; a vegetarian quesadilla filled with grilled zucchini, mushrooms, pumpkin, peppers, pesto and cheese; and the East of Everyburger – beef patty, mac ‘n’ cheese patty, American cheese, onion ring, pickle, lettuce, tomato, onion, mustard, secret burger sauce. Finally, to finish the saturation process on a high note, treat yourself to the lemon icebox pie with whipped cream and/or the house-made ice-cream. Of course, once the eating finishes, the drinking most likely recommences. And in a relaxed and comfortable bar where the primary aim is to curate the perfect drinking experience for each and every individual patron, this transition should prove to be seamless. BarNone is open Tuesday and Wednesday, 5pm-12am, and Thursday-Saturday, 5pm-2am. Lucky you.   

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