Bar Americano is like all the best things in Melbourne, secretively tucked away from the main attractions.
The tiny room is fitted out beautifully, with varnished wooden shelves and pale tiled walls. Coffee is served through the hatch during the day with aperitifs and night caps available as the day progresses.
Bar Americano is so small any photographs taken could infringe customers privacy, so no photos. (The ones you see here are borrowed from their Facebook page). There are other irregularities a seasoned bar fly might not be used to…
Firstly, there are no seats. Standing room only. Secondly, there are no alcohol brands visible. Everything is decanted into beautiful glass bottles on the back shelf of the bar. (I did ask which gin they were using -Tanqueray). Lastly, the drinks menu is recreated from original cocktail books from bygone eras. They strive to “serve classic cocktails in their purest form”. The Negroni I was served certainly lived up to that statement and I could see why it was a finalist in the 2013 Australian Bar of the Year.
Hayden and I only managed a quick chat while he made my Negroni, but luckily for me he agreed to answer my questions as part of Meet the Bartender.
Name: Hayden Scott Lambert
Where do you work? I’m currently the head bartender of the tiny yet inspirational Bar Americano.
How long have you been mixing cocktails? I have been making cocktails for about ten years. I have been making good cocktails for about 8 of those years!
Who/what inspires you? My wife and my son!
What’s your favourite gin and why? I have always a big fan of Martin Millers Westbourne strength. But I’m currently working with Tanqueray and it’s wonderfully versatile.
What gin cocktail are you asked for most? Negronis, Aviations and Sensations
Your favourite gin cocktail and why? I’m in love with Negronis, its just a drink that I love making. It’s very sophisticated, seductive and one just isn’t enough.
A customer has never tried gin before, what gin-based drink would you recommend? I think a well made gin sour like the Aviation is a great introduction. It also allows for them to gain their confidence so I can take them on a gin-tastic journey.
Best thing about your job? The people, the atmosphere & the intimacy of the Bar Americano.
Off-duty, what’s your favourite place to drink? I don’t get out much but when I have I have enjoyed great drinks and great service at The Everleigh. I love going to the Lui Bar and watching the world pass by at Chuckle Park.
If you could work at any other bar, which one would it be? I don’t think I could work in another bar except my own.
Bar Americano, 20 Presgrave Place, Melbourne. Open Mon-Sun 8.30-1.30am
(Bar Americano was created by Matthew Bax (from the trink tank group).