This may well be New Farm’s most laid-back spot for a beer or Pimm’s Cup. Footpath tables are the place to be in summer, surrounded by beautiful old fig trees and a constant breeze. In the cooler months the warmth of the old red-brick walls and rustic timber tables creates a cosy atmosphere inside.
You won’t find any mainstream beer here. They have a serious craft offering – without taking themselves too seriously. There’s more than 65 by the bottle, most of them Australian save for a few imported goodies like Mikkeller Ricemarket Blonde from Denmark and the super-strong Tactical Nuclear Penguin from Scotland. There’s also seven beers on tap that change weekly, and a hand-pump that usually makes an appearance on weekends pouring something a bit out of the ordinary, such as Country perry – an organic pear cider matured in oak barrels from heritage Herefordshire perry pears. Cocktails are a fresh-and-fruity bunch, including a pretty-pink strawberry gimlet ($16), and our favourite, the gin-based Old Maid with lime juice, muddled cucumber and basil, topped with soda ($16). The wine list is a short but sweet selection of well-chosen, mostly boutique Australian wines. If you happen to be the designated driver, reward yourself with a milkshake – flavours include lemon-meringue pie and peanut butter.
In terms of the food offering, there is much more going on here than at your average craft beer bar. Simple bar snacks include spiced nuts or fries, or share plates like house-made crumbed black pudding with lashings of apple puree, a poached egg and crunchy mustard cabbage, or fried chicken with kimchi. Turn up on a weeknight around dinner time and score the bargain-basement $20 chef’s special, which includes a beer, wine or cider. There’s a separate lunch and dinner menu, an in-between-time menu and even a breakfast menu on weekends. Bitter Suite is one of those places that’s whatever you need it to be, anytime of the day or night.