Damn it’s hard not to love a place like this. What is it about places that look half put together by a bunch of mates one weekend, shoved in with some furniture, and packed full of all your other mates while a few of you jump on some instruments and start jamming away all night?
What’s not to love. The staff here are ridiculously friendly, down to earth. Conversations are always going on and it’s such an intimate space that you can’t help but butt into someone else’s.
It looks like a pop-up bar that never popped back out. The Rook Return is full of character. This is a real gem, and we don’t say that lightly because there are a lot of bars and pubs in Melbourne but to get one that stands out (and stands out for not standing out) is something to be cherished.
The place looks and feels small. Cosy, warm, chill, but surprisingly spacious when you’re inside it. Old stone walls, shack-like bars, paintings and candles and red lighting all just add to the ambience of it all. You half expect a bunch of miners from the 20s to walk in and order a pint. Dark wood and a really relaxed outdoor beer garden, it’s like a secret clubhouse but with alcohol.
Look, the thing is, you can describe The Rook Return in a million ways and you’ll be right just about every time. We’ve already described it like ten times and still can’t help but think of even more. Seedy and rustic in the best possible way. Cheap but weirdly stylish. Old, new, young, ancient, artsy but not, unpretentious and friendly. The list goes on so we won’t bore you with the metaphors anymore.
We’ll just tell you that we really do recommend the Rook Return. Check out their bands, check out their fantastic cocktails and spirits, and bring a friend.
201 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Victoria 3065
(03) 9417 1401