A gorgeous bank-themed cocktail bar set inside the heritage Swan Street State Bank, Fargo & Co in Richmond is a must-visit for anyone who loves a good time (and even better food and drinks).
Let’s start with the décor. The two-storey Edwardian building has been transformed into something from a Dillinger daydream: vintage vault doors, intricate tile-work, stained glass windows and twinkling chandeliers. Subtract a few cocktails and you could be in a turn-of-the-century bank.
You can’t fault Fargo & Co for ambition. Up the staircase, you'll find an 80-head function space (yep, there's the obligatory plasma screen in the corner) plus an al fresco courtyard with views over Richmond's rooftops.
The styling is swanky CBD cocktail bar meets suburban gastropub. All gilt-framed mirrors, embroidered carpet, blonde timber and twisted pendant lights. A huge mural covers one wall of the courtyard: a femme fatale with a smoking bullet between her teeth. Prediction: the 30th birthday crowd is gonna be hitting this place HARD.
As you'd expect, the cocktail list has theatre written all over it.
Start with the High Interest made with Junmal Gino Sake, Mozart white choc, salted caramel and Luxardo Maraschino cherries. Then kick it up a notch with the Loomis Fargo—a sinus-clearing combo of Hakushu 12-year-old whisky, Laphroaig, lemon, ginger liqueur, honey and smoke. Tastes like a Saville Row suit...on fire.
Sweet tooths should order up a glass cask of The Joint Account, a shared rum mixer that you tap yourself, spiked with Captain Morgans, lime, a dash of cherry juice, pineapple and maple syrup. Dangerously addictive. Rounding out the drinks you've got 15 beers on tap (a solid mix of craft and familiar labels), plus a well-stocked wine cellar.
Dishing up gourmet bar snacks until late, Fargo & Co is the perfect spot for tasty little alco-absorbers like Cornflake fried chicken with spicy fried egg mayo and breakfast radish, or sticky baked beef cheek steam buns with black vinegar and chilli. Whatever you do, save room for the bigger fillers like the salt and pepper calamari roll, smoked frank hot dog, and Fargo's signature beef burger.
Need more? Good, because Fargo & Co throws an opulent bottomless brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 2pm. $50 will get you bottomless mimosas and prosecco, plus a dish from the brunch menu (we're looking at you, strawberry and cream waffles).
And don't go thinking the sweet deals stop there, Fargo & Co runs Bottomless Bites every Monday to Wednesday from 4pm to 9pm. Go crazy snacking on the chef's selection for $30 a head, and then add some happy hour sips into the mix (hello $10 espresso martinis and bellinis) for extra good times.
And saving the best until last, there's Spiked Spiders & Badass Buns every Thursday from 4pm. Download the Fargo & Co app and score yourself a winning meal deal worth a crisp $20. Choose a badass bun (there's the beef burger, smoked frank hot dog, curried lamb roll or salt and pepper calamari roll) and a spiked spider (the Unicorn, a concoction of Bacardi, Blue Curcao, lemon juice, lemonade, rainbow ice cream, strawberry Pocky and hundreds and thousands; the Jam Donut, made with Chambord, Cointreau, candied strawberry syrup, lemonade and vanilla ice cream, topped with mini jam donuts; and the Femme Fantasy with Mr Black coffee amaro, franjelico, cola and toffee ice cream, served with a waffle cone, white chocolate soil and chocolate syrup)—sit back and just try to wipe the smug look off your face.
Image credit: Annika Kafcaloudis