Time Out Melbourne

Got sugarcane? Hamish Goonetilleke and his pals do. Meet Brunswick Street’s newest rum joint

Before you ask, yes, the bar is named after the long-lost Hunter S Thompson novel. But while a red-brick interior and nautical knick-knacks channel the watering holes of Paul Kemp’s day, the title is more about a love of distilled sugarcane. 

The menu is a beautiful ode to every shade of rum, from sweet and sticky Zacapa XO to harsh raw rhum agricole, which smells somewhere between tequila and petrol (it’s actually delicious). Kiwi bartender Josh Crawford is in charge and he’s slinging some good cocktails.

A lot of the recipes have been donated by local bartenders and rum makers including the Bay Rum Mojito, which gets rosemary and a bay leaf added to the traditional mint, lime, soda and sugar highball. They do a helluva Piña Colada too, made with spiced rum that’s been infused with toasted coconut and chargrilled pineapple.

If you want to nerd out, do a flight of rums matched to a cheeseboard. The combo works. On other food fronts, they’re dishing up charcuterie including some incredible Flinders Island wallaby chorizo from local salumi-master Simon Poole, and they’re bringing back fancy jaffles too. If you’d rather spend $18 on a cocktail than a movie ticket, head in on Tuesday nights when they’ve taken to screening cult films for free. You can even get a butter popcorn-infused rum and Coke. Nice.

Which Melbourne bar is the best?

Updated on 23 Oct 2015.

By Max Veenhuyzen   |   Photos by Graham Denholm

The Rum Diary Bar details

334 Brunswick St , Fitzroy 3065

Telephone 03 9939 0616

Bus or tram: 112

Open Mon-Wed 5pm-1am; Thu-Sun 5pm-3am

The Rum Diary Bar website

The Rum Diary Bar map

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