At a casual glance, the retro glamour and determined Frenchness of La Boheme might strike passersby as slightly pretentious, or even a bit naff. It’s not. Inside, the draped curtains and framed photographs seem perfect, even homely. With lovely staff, great music and some of the best drinks in town, La Boheme sets the standard for every bar around Adelaide.
Aesthetically, La Boheme stays on the right side of quirky and cute. Above the bar lies a chandelier made entirely out of Maker’s Mark bottles and the turntables sit atop an upright piano. Most Saturday nights, early guests will be serenaded by a man with a flamenco guitar, before genuinely interesting DJs get to work spinning some seriously good sets.
Patrons sit in smaller groups early on, but tables are often cast aside to accommodate spontaneous jiving as the evening progresses, and by the end of the night some happy customers have been known to jump up on those tables and make lively spectacles of themselves.
Food wise, the bar offers an enticing cheese plate, which is a fitting compliment to the star attraction: the drinks. Serious staff work off an ever-changing blackboard menu designed to showcase some of your more uncommon spirits. The Chilli Mocha, a new house creation, is a delicious update of the espresso martini, with a shot of coffee and a real kick of spice. On the fruitier side, a range of vodka-based drinks, such as the Pears Daisy and Ginger Passion also get the nod. The staff take the preparation of the classic cocktail list very seriously and don't be surprised if you're asked, "Exactly how dry would you like your martini?"
The local wine list, concentrating on the McLaren Vale region, is good, and if you’re celebrating you can get one of a number of bottles of French champagne for $90. The beer list predictably concentrates on well-loved local and Western European varieties.
From the moment the always-amiable bouncer in the blue beret salutes your entry, La Boheme might just become a home away from home.