The dim light made it impossible to tell the direction of her gaze. Unable to make out anything other than her silhouette, I squinted trying to catch the subject of her attention.
Mesmerised by her curvaceous figure; her long legs, gorgeous rounded hips, tight waist and the sensuous curve of her breasts, I couldn’t help but move slowly in her direction.
My heart began to thump hard in my chest. At that moment a flashlight beamed through the window and illuminated her face and mine.
Her hand reached out, “I’m Maeve. Maeve Fox”.
Ok, so I made that up. There is no Maeve. In fact the name Maeve Fox is just an invented feminine identity for this bar in Richmond. But I think if she really were a person, I might have nailed it.
It’s the middle of winter and you’ve been invited to a private party in the country. A windy road leads you to the third generation cattle ranch. Set deep within the property, high on a hillside amongst the pine trees, is a cosy cabin.
It’s standing room only and the space is wall to wall with guests standing body to body, and as you look up you notice the enormous mounted deer over head, a stately guardian of the room. Something about his presence lends a sense of security.
That’s how I’d describe the atmosphere of Maeve Fox. You wont feel like you’re on busy Church Street in the centre of Richmond’s corporate district. There’s a touch of country to the place, which is a far cry from the outside environment – the gritty urban jungle with its graffiti, trains and development.
The bar is a narrow, streamline room with interior details that create a contrasting sense of height – high ceilings, vertical flower displays, light cascading downward toward the bar and a floor to ceiling back bar. Bruce the deer head mounted high out of reach on the feature wall further enhances the illusion of spaciousness.
Beyond the main bar is a back room, as well as two function rooms upstairs. Though each room has its own unique style, adding to the eclectic charm of the place, ‘less is more’. Minimalism makes it impossible to miss the feature walls – from exposed brick to bespoke wallpaper to stacked logs to reclaimed sleepers from the old train tracks in Lorne.
Also adding to the atmosphere is the stunning light fittings by Mance Design – one downstairs and one upstairs. Called ‘Ghost Story’, a collection of sticks creates a dramatic lighting effect on the walls and ceiling after dark.
The bar attracts a mixed demographic, from Cremorne’s corporate crowd during the week to hospitality Sundays. However, Cosy corners and deliciously deep leather booths make Maeve Fox a favourite for date nights or a quiet game of Connect Four.
On Friday and Saturday nights, the kitchen serves tapas, though Maeve Fox equally attracts people seeking an aperitif before heading to one of Richmond’s many restaurants. Its proximity to the MCG and Rod Laver Arena also gives the footy and concert crowds a classier alternative to the array of rowdy sports bars and pubs in the area.
I had one of the most memorable nights of my life at Maeve Fox a few years ago. It was a close friend’s birthday – a milestone one. She took both function rooms upstairs, keeping one space for mingling, drinking and dancing, and turning the other into a studio for dress ups and a photo booth. Everyone laughing hysterically as they piled on the sofa for a photo in crazy costumes is a moment I’ll forever hold dear.
These days it’s such a popular function venue that upstairs is booked six months in advance. A big open fireplace, plush armchairs and Australiana pictures on the wall make the lounge area feel like a real living room. The main room is crisp and modern with unobstructed views of the city skyline.
Maeve is a friendly, good time girl. Whatever the day, date or occasion, she invites you to pop in sometime, hang up your coat on one of her doorknobs and enjoy a fine cocktail or two.
The cocktail list here is organised like a restaurant menu, by entree, mains and dessert, which adds a bit of fun.
As the sister bar to Katuk in South Yarra, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the bar has an impressive selection of Glenmorangie Single Malt Whisky and Chartreuse, and offers a number of cocktails using these as base ingredients.
Elixir of Life
This cocktail journey starts with a cultural education on Chartreuse with what is known in France as the ‘Elixir of Life’.
Chartreuse is the World’s oldest liqueur. It is still made to the original secret recipe from 1084 A.D. at a men’s only monastery in France where the monks have taken a vow of silence. The only liqueur that ages in the bottle, it contains 130 ingredients and is hailed as the secret to longevity. Those that believe Chartreuse is the ‘Elixir of Life’ take it every morning as a health tonic.
Alex soaked a sugar cube in Chartreuse on a napkin. I then popped the ‘Elixir of Life’ in my mouth and began to chew. The flavours were intense – floral, herbaceous, spicy and aromatic – almost overwhelming to my senses, but delicious.
The Entrée: I love a fizzy, refreshing spritz. A little sweet and a little sour, this simple aperitif cocktail is mixed with house made rhubarb coulis, Aperol, Dal Sotto Prosecco and a dash of soda.
Whisky Peach Smash
The Main: This tasty cocktail is beautifully balanced with perfect levels of savoury, citrus, sweetness and acidity, and different flavours from the whisky that dance across the palate. Mixed with Glenmorangie 10 Year Old Original, house made white peach puree, lemon juice and sugar syrup.
Dessert: Chocolaty, fun and original, this cocktail is mixed with Lindt Dark 80% house infused Chartreuse, White Crème de Cacao liqueur, fresh lemon and mint. Served with a cocoa puff garnish. A kid’s breakfast becomes an adult’s dessert!
Dessert Number Two, because I’m not sweet enough: This extra special treat is mixed with Glenmorangie Original and St Germaine liqueur, served over an ice sphere with a square of Lindt Orange Dark Chocolate. To die for!
Glenmorangie 18 Year Old
Our cocktail journey finished with a very special treat.
Founded in 1843, Glenmorangie Single Malt Whisky is produced in Scotland and owned by Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, so of course it’s going to be amazing. The award winning 18 Year Old is aged in American white oak casks for the first 15 years, then partly transferred to Spanish Oloroso sherry casks for 3 years, then both elements are blended back together create the final orchestra of flavours. Raisins, dates, figs, honey and a woody smokiness in the length were just some of the notes I could taste coming through.
Wed 5pm to 1am | Thu-Sat 5pm to 3am | Sun 5pm to 1am
472 Church Street, Cremorne
“My doctor told me to watch my drinking. Now I drink in front of a mirror.”
– Rodney Dangerfield