As a writer, it might surprise you that the handful of most precious watering holes held dearest to my heart are united by their inability to be summarized in words. Gerald’s Bar – a softly-spoken gem in North Carlton’s Rathdowne Village – is one of this illustrious club.
Owned by Englishman Gerald Differy, the narrow-fronted premises is tricky to spot unless you are looking out for its suspended signage. Lace curtains line the windows and an assortment of oddities clutter the walls; a record player tucked into the corner of the bar spins everything from Ella Fitzgerald to the Clash, its eclectic sounds reflected in the variety of patronage.
Doing away with the northern suburb vogue for complex renditions of otherwise basic dishes and coronary-inducing speciality barbeque, the bar’s ever-changing menu combines simple flavour pairings with best-of-the-day produce. You can guarantee a top-notch cheese and charcuterie board with a well-rounded Tempranillo to match.
Perhaps an unorthodox choice given the glossier offerings of Rathdowne’s established strip, Gerald’s unobtrusiveness and unwillingness to bend to nightlife trends provides the cornerstone to its inviting atmosphere. Simply, go, and don’t be surprised when you find yourself thinking of this hidden treasure as fondly as you do of your own home.
386 Rathdowne St, Carlton North
(03) 9349 4748
Every day / 5pm – 11pm