Follow the brick road that houses Britomart favourites’ Orleans and Racket Bar, make your way down a couple of flights of stairs and you’ll be confronted with a rickety old door with the prominent title: Caretaker. If you come across this incredibly self-effacing nook in the centuries-old heritage building, Australis House accidently, you may well think you’ve taken the wrong turn and have actually ended up in the maintenance crew’s quarters. But we insist, despite the fact the doorway is curiously decorated with disheveled paint tins and rusty tools, you should indeed turn that door knob!
A year in the making, Caretaker is the brainchild of married duo Heather Garland and Alastair Walker. Having lived overseas for some time, and more recently, running popular bar Everleigh in Melbourne, they’ve returned home to realise their dream of owning their own night-spot.
Once your eyes adjust to the dimly lit room you’ll notice the brown leather couches, low slung chairs and tables dotted about. Vintage artifacts completing the space.
“We wanted to create a space that could have been here since the building’s opening in 1904," they explain. "A space that indeed could be mistaken for a caretaker’s lair.”
Which they’ve pulled off, and it’s not just the interiors that have traveled back in time, the toe-tapping music as well as their offerings that are of an era of simpler times, too.
The menu takes a world tour, giving the punters a mini lesson on where certain spirits and liquors originate from. Choose from their premium sipping list, or choose the suggested cocktail made from each of the page’s star alcohol type. There’s also a weekly menu that celebrates seasonal produce while also ensuring the punter is able to try new and delightful boozy concoctions they might never get the chance to try elsewhere. Their champagne cocktail is sure to set your night off well with a beautifully balanced mix of Cointreau, fresh lemon, gin and bitters, topped off with Ruinart Champagne. But we suggest to not even pick up the menu… Both Heather and Alastair are incredibly well-versed, talk to them, tell them what you like and trust in them to shake or stir the perfect cocktail.
Celebrating the Golden Era of classic cocktails in a speak-easy setting that oozes cool, we’re certain Caretaker will be the backdrop to many late nights and plenty of memorable revelry. And hello, it’s almost the weekend again. There’s no guessing where you’ll find us.
For more details on Caretaker, including opening hours, click here.
Image credit: Lauren Matilda Matthews