Food & Drink

The Verdict | We Checked Out Fitzroy’s New Cosy Cocktail Bar

By Ioana Dragnef
28th Nov 2018

At first glance, Ends & Means might look like your average Fitzroy cocktail bar. But after some deep investigation, we realised there is a lot more to it than that.

The ethos behind Ends & Means is pretty bold and refreshing for a Fitzroy cocktail bar: deliver a handcrafted, world-class drinking experience with a low environmental footprint, as ethically as possible.

“Josh and I are from a nightclub background,” co-owner Marc Frew says. “And on an average night, a club would fill three dumpsters with waste. So we gave ourselves a weekly limit of a domestic household’s worth of bins at Ends & Means. Over time, we’re going to try and reduce that to zero.”

Everything in the space has been either traded, repurposed, or built by hand. Which, in a world of mass production, is not something a lot of venues can boast about.

All the features of Ends & Means have been designed and built by the owners themselves: from to the handcrafted coasters (made from salvaged timber, blow torched and branded with their logo) and menus (of which they only print four a day, because they’re hand-bound with pliers and thumbtacks), to the walls (which Marc designed and printed the floral fabric peeking behind the exposed brick and render) and the bar top (made from storm-damaged elm trees which Josh sanded and patiently coated in resin by hand).

The result is a cozy, 'vintage-y' DIY feel that doesn't feel tacky or dated—it feels fresh, vibrant, and energetic.

And while they’re only coming up to their eight-week anniversary, the Ends & Means menu is on its 15th edition. Because they only use whatever fresh, local produce is available and in season, the drinks at Ends & Means change every week.

“I’m a huge fan of people being able to walk up to the bar and tell me what they like and I’ll make them something custom,” Marc says. "And a lot of the inspiration I get for the menu comes from the drinks I make on the spot."

A lot of the ingredients (syrups, for instance) in the Ends & Means cocktails are made from scratch and all the produce is used from root to tip, to minimise waste. They don't serve packaged beers or soft drinks either—if you order a gin and tonic, the tonic will be made in front of you from tap soda mixed with their handmade tonic syrup. If you order a beer, you’ll get a taste of whatever local beers are on rotation that week.

Ends & Means buzzes with energy even on a rainy Wednesday night. Even when the room is bustling, both Marc and Josh manage to give everyone the attention they deserve: whether it’s by making you a custom cocktail or explaining the intricacies of coating an entire slab of wood in resin, the guys behind Ends & Means are absolutely devoted to making your cocktail bar experience a great one.

So if you’re tired of all your regular Fitzroy haunts, you definitely won't be disappointed if you give this one a try.

Keep up to date with all the latest Melbourne openings on our Food & Drink section.

Image credit: Annika Kafcaloudis

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