An expanded bar at Collingwood brewery Molly Rose opens today

Molly Rose brewery has purchased the two adjoining buildings, and is greatly expanding its bar offering – with more to come later in the year.

The remodelled venue will include a new brewery and bar, but also a lounge, private dining room, large beer garden, and later in the year, a chef’s table dining experience.

For Molly Rose founder Nic Sandery, the extended venue is a long way from the brewery and attached bar’s previous iteration.

“When we first started we had 200 square metres, we were a very small site,” Nic outlines.

“That’s where we made all the beer, so the employees would have to sweep everything and push it all up on the weekends, and the bar was there. We couldn’t be both a bar and a brewery.

“So when next door opened up, we decided to do something a little bit more comfortable with a little bit more purpose-built to be a bar. That’s why we’ve got the cocktail wine bar section, and a nice big, devoted beer garden.”

A centrepiece brewery bar will feature limited edition and core range Molly Rose beers, alongside a small, largely Australian wine list, a carefully curated cocktail list and a beer list featuring Nic’s favourite brews from around the world.

Molly Rose took the lease on the neighbouring buildings in late 2021 and worked with interior architect Mitchell & Eades to remodel the venue.

Speaking to Bars and Clubs, Nic explained how his approach to making beer extends to the brewery’s hospitality offering.

“We’ve always wanted to make beer for everyone. That’s been our goal since day one,” Nic says.

“Interesting styles and interesting things but not make them so exclusive that you can’t enjoy them if you’re not a beer expert.

“And that extends to hospitality and service as well. We want to make everybody feel comfortable when they come into our venues.”

Nic also outlines how the Molly Rose team wanted to create a space that challenged the preconceptions of what a brewery bar is.

“We wanted food that really complements beer, but maybe some food that wasn’t necessarily seen in beer focussed venues,” Nic says.

“So not pub-grub or American food, we wanted to do something a little more interesting and elevated with Southeast Asian flavours in a modern way.”

The dining options have been created with Ittichai Ngamtrairai (also know as ‘Biggy’), who has previously worked at LuMi Dining, Nomad, Matilda 159, Marameo and Sarti. Biggy will being serving up Modern Australian cuisine, influenced by Asian and Italian techniques and traditions.

In the winter, the venue will open a 20 seat chef’s table which will offer an experience exploring the relationship between chef and brewer, where each plate is paired to a Molly Rose beer.

Mixing up the brewery bar

Cocktails are not always closely associated with brewery bars, but a strong cocktail menu is also a part of the offering at Molly Rose. And this is a reflection of Nic’s own personal tastes.

“I don’t necessarily just drink beer. I like wine, I love coffee, I like spirits. I like working with producers who make amazing things and talking to them about how it’s all about flavour, aromatics, mouthfeel, finish – whether you’re making gin, whether you’re making whiskey, whether you’re making a cocktail or whether you’re making coffee. It’s all about the experience,” Nic explains.

“So we’ve always had a few cocktails and we’ve always taken them reasonably seriously.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, beer features as a key ingredient in some of the cocktails on offer, such as the Helles Refreshing. See the recipe here.

“When we were thinking about what the theme might be, or what we might want to with our cocktail list, we went back to our core of making really well made, approachable, delicious, interesting, complex drinks that anybody could have.

“What our inspiration is kind of using great drinks from around us – local spirits, local ingredients, fresh fruit from the area – whatever’s in season. And making a cocktail list that’s very limited, very concise, but that shows our beer making technique.”

Ultimately, Nic explains, the venue is about “was always about hospitality and selling directly to our customers – giving them that Molly Rose experience.”

“The way that we can compete is by giving people a great experience, putting some food in front of them and talking to them about it. So that was always the plan.”

For Nic, the opening of Molly Rose is part of a wider revival in Melbourne’s hospitality scene following the lockdown era.

“I’m pretty excited about the next 12 months,” Nic says.

“It’s been a bit of a pause in Melbourne from interesting new little things popping up, and we’re just starting to see a fair bit more happening, which is really exciting,” he concludes.

Images by Sarah Anderson.

Molly Rose is located at 279 – 285 Wellington St, Collingwood. 3066 VIC.
The venue is open from 4pm-10pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 12pm-1am Fridays and Saturdays, and 12pm to 10pm on Sundays.

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