If hype is any indication of quality, Fargo & Co is going to have quality coming out its ears. For months we’ve heard the rumblings: a gorgeous bank-themed cocktail bar, set inside the heritage Swan Street State Bank no less.
Well the wait is over, children. Fargo & Co is officially open for business.
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 chandaliers. Throw in some queues (and 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 gastro pub. All gilt-framed mirrors, embroidered carpet, blonde timber and twisted pendant lights. A huge mural covers one wall of the couryard: 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’: 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, dashcherry 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.
Chef Dylan Evans (ex State of Grace) is running the pass, dishing up gourmet bar snacks until late. Think little alco-absorbers like oyster mushrooms with fromage fraiche and roasted onion tostadas, or cod fritters dipped in herb cream and showered in crispy angel hair chips. Whatever you do, order a plate of the Grandmother's Ham with truffled potato salad and warm sourdough. Possibly the first time this picnic staple has been sexed up to a contemporary Melbourne standard. Absolutely delicious.
Need more? There’ll also be a first for Melbourne: bottomless brunch. Running every Sunday from 13th August, you can get endless mimosas and Prosecco for $35 bucks a head, plus the chef’s brunch menu until 2pm. No doubt about it, Fargo & Co is going to make serious waves. Time to place a deposit.
Image credit: Griffin Simm