Upon walking in I immediately feel transported to another world – a nautical, rum-filled, smiling world where the bartenders are always joking and the patrons are always laughing. The wall just behind the bar is stacked with every kind of rum imaginable, while the décor consists of beautiful wood finishes and old-time maps of the sea. It really feels like we could be sailing around the Caribbean in the days of old. Welcome to the Rum Diary Bar in Melbourne.
From the kitchen in the back the smell of a freshly-made jaffle wafts through the air. I seem to have arrived at the perfect time. In front of me sits a glass of house ginger beer, a non-alcoholic cousin of ginger ale. This version is infused with chili and cardamom.
The Rum Diary has only been open for a few months, but is already quickly making its mark in the off-beat but trendy area of Fitzroy in Melbourne, Australia. Given its location of what used to be the Gypsy Bar, a golden beacon representing 20 years of bar history in these parts, it’s quickly filling a big set of shoes effectively and easily.
The bar owner, Hamish, proudly shows me photos of the Gypsy Bar in its heyday before it changed hands several times, lost its luster, and ended up getting revamped into what it is today – the happening Rum Diary, popular amongst locals and tourists alike.
The bar has a lot to offer other than its famous jaffles and rum, though. They even have a mixed rum drink on draft in addition to a rotation of beers and ciders. They make fresh-to-order coffee (an absolute must in Melbourne – a coffee-lovers’ city), create beautiful drink creations with fresh fruit garnishes, and have great mock-tails as well.
Give this up-and-comer a try. While you’re at it, ask Hamish about the Worst Case Scenario game, or check out the scrabble in the corner as you pretend to sail the high seas while sipping a rum cocktail in this newly-transformed bar, in an area that still remains somewhat off the beaten path for most tourists passing through.
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