I went to Five Bar for a long overdue catchup with my friend Sam. We ran into each other at The Beaufort Street Festival a few weeks before and decided we’d head out for a beer in the near future. It had been a few years since the last time we saw each other, which was at a 21st birthday of one of our school mates. In high school there was a group of us who were really into music and I remember hanging out with Sam at various gigs and trying to convert him into becoming a Radiohead fan. It never worked.
Little did I know that Sam and I had a similar route of self-discovery. We both did our undergrad in Arts but moved into the Food and Beverage industry afterwards. On the Saturday afternoon that we met up, it was an extremely hot day and I couldn’t imagine doing anything other than sitting under the air-con (with a beer or cider) and Five Bar was the perfect destination.
I have been to Five Bar a few times now – mostly on a Friday or Saturday night where the place is packed and it is quite difficult to find a seat. I was expecting something similar on this occasion however we were pleasantly surprised when it was easy to find a seat and the place was full of patrons having a chilled afternoon drink. We decided to do something similar.
Sam was drinking James Squire Pale Ale, while I was drinking the James Squire ’Orchard Crush’ cider, both of which Five Bar have on tap. I particularly like James Squire beer and am happy to find a venue that has the James Squire cider on tap. I particularly like this cider as it isn’t overpoweringly sweet in comparison to others. It is refreshingly good served with ice and my first went down very quickly!
The food menu at Five Bar looks really good and has a lot of variety to it. On this occasion we decided to order something small for lunch. I ordered the Slow Roasted Field Mushrooms and Sam ordered the New York-style Reuben Sandwich.
The Slow Roasted Field Mushrooms dish was exceptionally good. The mushrooms were served on lightly toasted baguette slices with Danish feta, balsamic vinegar and chives. The baguette was lightly toasted and remained quite viable for the extended duration it took me to eat the three pieces (as we were juggling eating, drinking and chatting). The mushrooms were cooked perfectly and were still juicy at the bite. The seasoning was perfect and each slice was drizzled with thick, quality balsamic vinegar that added extra flavour. The chives and Danish feta were another element of taste and together made a simple but incredible dish. I recommend it thoroughly if you enjoy mushrooms.
Sam’s New York-style Reuben Sandwich was a substantive size and came with pastrami, sauerkraut, swiss cheese and 1000 island dressing on German rye bread and a dollar dill pickle on the side. During my visit to New York I never got to try one of these however Sam told me that it was a great rendition of a typical New York Reuben Sandwich.
Sam and I spent the good part of the afternoon sitting at Five Bar. We both enjoyed the atmosphere and the service was attentive but casual – an awesome mix for a lazy Saturday afternoon. The venue at Five is lovely and it is very easy to feel relaxed in the surroundings. The place is a mix match of couches, up-market fittings and very pretty wall coverings. If you prefer to sit at a table, there are a few high tables and chairs at the side and if you prefer to sit at the bar, Five offers you comfy bar stools. No matter what you prefer, there is a little space for you at Five Bar.
The menu has a lot of options and I would be very happy to return for a main or a few small plates. There are many boutique beers on offer at Five Bar and some can be a little on the pricey side however the beer selection is extensive and thoroughly comprised. An added bonus of Five Bar is that you will find Jerry Fraser on a Sunday afternoon shucking oysters.
I recommend Five Bar for its lovely atmosphere, service and food. It is the perfect place for a relaxing drink with a few friends in the afternoon or a pre-outing beverage on a Friday or Saturday night.