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GoodBar Has It All

The GoodBar is a new cocktail bar in Brookvale, linked to a Snowy Mountains-inspired distillery.


Goodradigbee Whiskey at The GoodBar Brookvale

There is a stretch of water in the Snowy Mountains that John O’Connor remembers fondly. As a youth, his dad taught him to fish on the Goodradigbee River. “My experience as a young bloke fishing up there,” he recounts, “the purity and clarity of the air and water and the overwhelming beauty of the environment left a lasting impression.”


His attachment to the place lives on through his spirits brand Goodradigbee Distillers, which offers a range of Australian wood-infused malts, gins and vodka, from a peppery Tasmanian Blackwood to a sweet and spicy Jarrah.


“Every hardwood reacts differently to the spirit,” O’Connor explains. “We are constantly investing in research and development and trialling new hardwoods, new indigenous gin botanicals, and so on. Some Aussie hardwoods produce extraordinary flavour profiles, while some taste, to be blunt, rubbish.”


One new flavour to look out for this year is the Sydney Blue Gum, which he describes as “a vanilla bomb mixed with coconut” – in other words, like an Iced VoVo!


But it’s one thing to run a distillery and quite another to open a bar in the middle of Brookvale’s industrial area. “I feel The GoodBar is a natural extension for the distillery,” the founder says of levelling up. 


“I am naturally impatient but I do look back on where we were three years ago and where we are now and feel a sense of achievement. Getting The GoodBar up and running was hard work – all the while maintaining production volumes, our innovation streams, and sales – but now that we have it finished, I feel we can progress and focus on what will make us a serious player in the industry.”


Goodradigbee Whiskey at GoodBar Brookvale

Some design ideas came from Soho Farmhouse and the Soho Club in London, while other influences include input from a Canberra-based artist. “On the wall of The GoodBar is an artwork by Lynnice Letty Church, a Ngunnawal woman,” O’Connor reveals. 


“Lynnice, apart from being a gem, painted the story of the river itself and of Canberra in two separate artworks for us. That has helped us guide the brand significantly.” 


The GoodBar is not just focused on the spirits coming from the distillery, however. O’Connor says they’re dedicated to serving quality across the board. “We not only sell our unique spirits, we sell the best of the best from around the world: whiskies, gins, rums, mezcal, and so on. Ditto with the wines.”


And you won’t just find these on the drinks menu. “The food is created with our spirits, literally,” he explains. “The kingfish is cured in Freshwater Gin, the salmon is cured in our Grey Gum Vodka. The duck breast is cooked in Ironbark. So it was fundamental, as in everything we do, that the food be unique to us.”


Cocktails also feature inventive twists that work well with the food. O’Connor nominates Ruby Rose, a gin and watermelon number with Cocchi Americano and notes of Strawberry Gum, elderflower, ginger and mint, and Bold Fashion, “our take on an Old Fashioned” using Jarrah malt, as his favourite mixes. 


“The Ruby is exceptional with the fish share plates and dukkah and dips, while the Bold Fashion complements the platters and the duck breast really well,” he recommends. “Our chocolate tart is made with the Tasmanian Blackwood malt so it, naturally enough, goes well with any whisky.”


Goodradigbee Blush Gin

The GoodBar operates from the Goodradigbee Distillers HQ at 41 Orchard Road, Brookvale. For masterclass and tour info, menu details and table bookings, see goodbarbrookvale.com.


Local favourite

John O’Connor, founder of Goodradigbee Distillers and The GoodBar, says Brookvale has upped its nightlife in recent years thanks to a cluster of kindred ‘spirits’. 


“Brookvale has evolved significantly. The breweries all offer something different, and we are a different experience yet again,” he says. “Now there is great dining along with a variety of music and entertainment options available to people of all ages, so it fits with so many people’s idea of a good night out.”


By Adeline Teoh


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