Bonny is a collaboration between Shayne Dixon, co-owner of Smith Street bottle shop Beermash, and Edge Brewing Project’s Adam Betts. There are 27 taps but only 12 of them pour beer – the rest are for beer-infused cocktails, natural wine and cold-brew coffee.
The space was formerly home to ramen joint Shibui Bar, but Betts and Dixon reworked it to focus on drinks. New chefs join the kitchen every three-months to oversee the menu. Although each chef adds their own spin to things, all dishes are designed to complement the drinks.
When Broadsheet last visited, we tried a thick, shareable slab of rosemary focaccia, cashew nuts and pickles (well complemented by a crisp Edge Brewing yuzu lager). Mains involved a choice between Wagyu beef cheek or roasted eggplant curry served with boiled potatoes and pearl-couscous salad. Beyond the set menu, snacks included oysters with salami vinaigrette, fried chicken wings and hot chips.
Dixon and Betts designed the fit-out themselves. The result is a modern, moody atmosphere, focused on the dark, reclaimed-timber bar, which is matched by long wooden tables and exposed ceiling rafters.
Beer isn’t the sole drink focus here, but the owner’s industry experience is clear in the varied selection. There are IPAs from the US, bold pastry stouts (sweeter than your usual dark ale) from Scandinavia, and plenty of local labels, too.
Behind the bar, Josh Crawford uses low-waste techniques to repurpose tap beer run-off that would otherwise end up in the sink. A lot of that leftover beer ends going into the cocktails. There’s the Francis, a tropical Gin Sour, and the Harper, a Sour Martini made with a sour-beer reduction, vodka, sake and pistachio oil.There are also kegged wines on tap from Melbourne wineries such as Noisy Ritual and Jamsheed. .