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Break out the bourbon and barbecue for Fitzroy’s smokin’ hot drinking spot
It’s irony of the highest order – or perhaps just outrageous black comedy – that Loretta’s is named after the meat smoker that destroyed the owner’s previous business in a fire. True story. But there’s no love lost, because Loretta’s – the front bar at what used to be the North Fitzroy Star, the cutest little corner pub in town – is one of those places that make you feel smug simply for knowing it exists. It’s like a bar in time machine form. A place of old-school timbered magnificence with just a hint of the arch in the deft taxidermy touches. A place you want to linger longer, which is aided and abetted by Loretta (the smoker) out back, making bar snacks of wide repute for Loretta’s (the bar). And let’s face it: being the front bar for the folks from Bluebonnet Barbecue sure has its benefits.
Chris Terlikar’s Texan barbecue covers the whole kit and kaboodle. Get something on buns – pulled pork with apple and kohlrabi slaw and a tingly hit of chipotle mayo or something for the vegos with smoked jackfruit. Or order jalapeño cheese grits and small plates of smoked meats. Actually, you wouldn’t call these bar snacks, really. They’re bar food, dammit, although in portions small enough for those flying solo: crisp lamb ribs; brisket, chopped and teamed up with chilli cheese fries, jalapeños and sour cream; a quarter of a perfectly smoked chook.
But don’t forget the drinks, which are the purview of ex-Eau de Vie charmer Oscar Eastman. Loretta’s is exactly the right place to down a pickleback that’ll put so much hair on your chest you’ll need a lawnmower. There’s plenty of American whiskey, and American craft beer, and Southern-themed mixed drinks (eg “Searching for Someone to Build Peachy Life with”: Stone Pataskala Red IPA with Buffalo Trace Bourbon) and cocktails with a sense of humour. Oh yes, Loretta’s: we love you.
32 St Georges Rd South
|Opening hours:||Mon-Thu 6-11pm; Fri-Sun noon-11pm|