Ask most Melbournites, “Where is Birrarung Marr?” and they’d be able to tell you that it’s the park on the banks on the Yarra River, east of Princes Bridge. Many of the city’s events and festivals are hosted at this location on the CBD fringe.
Ask most Melbournites, “What is Birrarung Marr?” and some of them would be able to tell you that it is the sacred land of the Wurundjeri people, our city’s Aboriginal tribe. In their language, Birrarung Marr means riverbank or river of mists.
So ask Melbournites, “ What is Bearbrass?” and do you think that anyone will be able to tell you what that means? I doubt it. Though, fascinatingly, it is the mistranslation of Birrarung Marr dating back to Melbourne’s early settlers and the Gold Rush era. A quirky historical fact!
Well it turns out Melbourne has two Bearbrass on the banks of its river – one on the north bank and the other on the south bank. And the south bank one is simply a brasserie.
I can imagine our Aboriginal ancestors gathering of an evening on the banks of the river at Birrarung Marr after their day of hunting, fishing and gathering. And here I am at BearBrass the bar doing much the same. It’s a Friday evening and the venue is overflowing with suits, celebrating the end of the week and enjoying the company of their tribe.
BearBrass, A Riverbank Brasserie
BearBrass is a casual bar and restaurant located in Southgate precinct, Southbank. Positioned right next to the Yarra River with views of the city, it’s a popular spot to grab an informal meal or catch up with friends. They have a solid wine list and a good selection of beers. Most importantly, they have a list of suitably fun cocktails.
Between my friends and I, we tried four and none of them disappointed. For a little brasserie, BearBrass really holds its own in the cocktail department. Check out the flirty little descriptions from the menu.
“Passion and fling when used together usually ends up in trouble. This guy’s a real player and will leave you thirsty for a second date.”
Pampero Rum, Passionfruit Puree, Vanilla Bean Syrup, Licor 43 & Mint
“We all know apple and strawberry taste delicious together, add a little kiwi and you will be blushing at the outcome.”
42 Below Kiwi, Rubis Strawberry, Muddled Strawberries, Apple Juice & Lime
A Cocktail Named Alice
“Who the *%#@ is Alice? We know! A once loved bartender at brass has left her stamp with this cracking cocktail.
42 Below Kiwi, Midori, Lime, Pineapple Juice & Muddled Fresh Kiwi
Toffee Apple Martini
A signature creation by the talented Tom. A special cocktail just for me with the most sensational green apple garnish. This one was not on the cocktail list. I’m just spoilt [blush].
Apple Vodka, Butterscotch, Lime Juice & Apple Juice
3 Southgate Avenue, Southbank
Open 7 days, 8 a.m. til late
Two for One Cocktails Thursdays 5 p.m. – late
“The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind.”
– Humphrey Bogart