By Sacha Delfosse

The owners of The Retreat Hotel in Melbourne have opened a stylish new cocktail lounge upstairs from the pub called Amelia Shaw.

Rather than occupying one large space, the bar has an unusual lay-out that is similar to a small apartment with four separate rooms and an entrance hall, decked out in a style that bar manager, Lou Dare, described as "Art Deco meets mid-century".

One room houses the main bar and another is decked out with larger communal tables. There is also one set up like a lounge room (pictured) while the fourth has a red circular pool table as its centrepiece. [continues below]

The back bar has a strong focus on Australian spirits such as 666 Pure Tasmanian Vodka, The West Winds Gin, as well as others from The Lark Distillery and Tamborine Mountain Distillery.

The cocktail list mainly features classics from across different eras "with an Australian twists to them" Dare said, such as 'The Banjo Patterson', a twist on the Rob Roy, made with Australian whisky and liqueur.

"We are trying to bring cocktails to the area, aiming to cater to both the hotel's crowd and also trying to get new people in. So far we have had a huge response," Dare said.

The venue is named after a real person – Amelia Shaw – who was the first licensee of The Retreat Hotel, back in 1842 when it opened, and arguably one of the first female licensees in Australia.

While the bar doesn't offer a full food menu there is a range of light snacks available, with a strong lean towards chartuterie and cheese. The bar may introduce a cocktail degustation in the future.

Amelia Shaw is currently operating from Thursday to Sunday from 6pm till late.

280 Sydney Road, Brunswick Ph: 0412 907 847

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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