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Adelaide, SA, 5000

BARTENDERS OF ADELAIDE: Throw 'Em Back at Thrift Shop Bar


BARTENDERS OF ADELAIDE: Throw 'Em Back at Thrift Shop Bar

Sean Watters

Finding that perfect bar for you is always a challenge. A place with your favourite beer, favourite music, an aesthetic that pleases you immensely. What’s a bar without a bartender though? Well, a bench with a bunch of unattended booze, which on reflection sounds marvellous, but where’s the fun in that? They provide entertainment, suggestions, and sometimes if you’re lucky, a story or two filled with some sage advice. Got a bartender pal? Hit me up, I’d love to chat with them.

Finding the Thrift Shop Bar is in of itself a challenge; walking down Waymouth Street, listen for the distinct crackle of vintage vinyl, then you'll know you're going in the right direction. Down an alleyway, past some non- descript lawn chairs, placed upon a length of fake lawn, and through a plain black wooden shed door, you'll emerge into a space of haphazard fashion, warmly lit with tall candles held aloft in gin bottles. Genteel armchairs sit amongst regal tables, mismatched yet weirdly comfortable in its surroundings. The back wall is dominated by a cornucopia of bottles, which change regularly with the season. You’ll see no Bacardi or Eristoff in this establishment; every single drink in the place originates from our own fair country of Australia, and more often than not, from South Australia. Have a cheeky geez at their huge record collection, make some suggestions, but don’t be touching that dial! Thrift Shop law states if you touch the needle, you’re buying everyone a drink. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

The brain behind the outfit is the irrepressible Chris Richards, manager of the Thrift Shop Bar and a hospo worker of 3 years. The guy has one of the more charming smiles I’ve come across in my time, probably part of the reason why people keep coming right on back week to week. His favourite drink to indulge in after a big shift is a Thrift Shop exclusive, the Whisky Breakfast, made from a heady mix of Hellyers Road whiskey, wattle toffee liqueur and maple syrup, served stirred into a large rocks glass. A lot of interesting characters find their way to the Thrift Shop Bar; often on a misguided adventure for vintage clothes. Still, any disappointment is swiftly dealt with by booze and song. Music varies wildly, from Bing Crosby to Bob Dylan. Chris distinctly remembers a night when a passing swing dancing troupe took kindly to the choice of music and proceeded to turn the whole bar into a dance fest, prohibition style. Thrift Shop Bar is the bar of choice for Nick Frost when coming through Adelaide, spotted throwing back some shaken treats before Super Nova last year.

Feel like a bit of speakeasy n chill?  Mosey on down to the Thrift Shop Bar at 12 Waymouth Place and let Chris know Papa Sean sent you. His handshake is as extravagant as it is complex, but if you ask him nicely maybe he will show you how to do it.

All images via The Thrift Shop