Ger­ald’s Bar

Time Out (Melbourne) - - BAR AWARDS -

Wine bars might be ap­pear­ing on all fronts right now, but Ger­ald’s is the true bat­tle-tested, five-star gen­eral

GER­ALD’S BAR HAS been on the tip of ev­ery­one’s tongue since it opened in the sleepy sub­urbs of Carl­ton North 11 years ago. They’ve kept the party go­ing and the booze a-flowin’ all th­ese years with­out bend­ing to any­one’s will, which is what makes them the true Leg­ends of the 2018 Time Out Bar Awards. Ger­ald’s is and al­ways has been burst­ing with per­son­al­ity: con­vivial, bois­ter­ous, ec­cen­tric, but at the same time, ut­terly ap­proach­able, with a flaw­less sound­track and a poster of a young Michael Caine watch­ing over you. Sure, the wine list is a mas­sive 200 bot­tles long, with a few bin ends, but the staff are help­ful enough to de­ci­pher it for you. There are clas­sic bot­tles from around the world sit­ting among the new, crazy skin con­tact wines the kids are quaffing th­ese days. Here, a hand­ful of reds and whites are picked by the timely few, dic­tat­ing what will be on by the glass for the next five pours. Spir­its are plen­ti­ful, and they can mix you up a tonic for what ails you, but don’t ex­pect any tricky bar­tend­ing. Beers are quenchers, so there are no ob­scure craft brews that re­quire chew­ing. The ser­vice is al­ways un­fussy, but with in­tent, mean­ing the busiest nights feel like the best party. The food menu is hand­writ­ten on butch­ers’ pa­per hang­ing off the lad­der be­hind the bar, thick with Sharpie lines across sold-out items. The kitchen cooks what it feels like, with daily changes, mean­ing one day you could be gnaw­ing on bar­be­cue pork ribs, and the next, cut­ting into a duck-and-pis­ta­chio ter­rine. The sta­ples are small­go­ods sliced to or­der, a va­ri­ety of cheeses and piles of white pick­led an­chovies. You’ll see Ger­ald (or his right-hand man, Mario) sit­ting out­side on steamy sum­mer nights with a cig­a­rette in hand, sur­rounded by reg­u­lars. The neigh­bour­hood cel­e­brates him and the bar as roy­alty. Ger­ald’s Bar has shaped the way the sub­urb op­er­ates and de­spite be­ing made for lo­cals, it has be­come a to­tal des­ti­na­tion bar. When you’re at Ger­ald’s, time seems to stand still. Long may it en­dure. 386 Rath­downe St, Carl­ton North 3054. 03 9349 4748. ger­alds­bar.com.au. Daily 5-11pm.

The busiest nights feel like the best party

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