At The Bar with The Skinny Dog Hotel Publican Craig Barnett

Did somebody say a new 400 capacity rooftop bar in Kew? The Skinny Dog Hotel brings an aerial perspective to the eastern suburb where premium food, cocktails and live music is a welcomed addition to this pocket of town.  They’ve added a glass atrium style roof, retractable awnings and lush greenery to keep you earthed when you’re sky high. It’s the ideal spot for an al fresco catch up with family and friends.

The Write Drop speaks to owner Craig about his favourite drink and culinary memories on the road, wines that still impress and which interstate bar he keeps going back to time and again.

MY CITY

I live in Ballarat, an hour from the hustle and bustle of Melbourne’s CBD. I’ve lived here most of my life and I’ve always loved its charm. Ballarat is at the foothills of the Central Highlands, which is an incredible backdrop to live within. It’s a city full of rich history, cultural attractions and natural beauty, one that I cannot see myself leaving anytime soon.

FAVOURITE FOOD MEMORY

When traveling to Singapore, I had a spectacular Mud Crab dish that I still think about to this day. An incredible combination of rich Singaporean sauces and the natural sweetness of the crab meat, I’m yet to find one to top it.

FAVOURITE BAR

There’s too many to pick if I am being honest. I have spent 30 years the hospitality industry and each bar has a different story and special memory associated to it. If I had to pick one right now, I would say George Hotel where I enjoyed a beer with one of my mates, sometimes the simplest of catch ups are the best.

WINE THAT DESCRIBES YOU

I would like to say that my personality is mature, distinguished and full of life. If I had to pick a wine pairing, I would say Rockford Basket Press a wonderful drop from the Barossa Valley.

BEST HANGOVER CURE

A freshly made Bloody Mary. I’ve been having them for years and can’t see myself changing routines anytime soon!

BEST INTERSTATE BAR

One of the best bars I have been to recently is The Coogee Bay Hotel. Not only is it located in a prime spot, but it is also home to a fantastic atmosphere that stays with you even after you have left. I’ve been multiple times and it just keeps getting better.

FAVOURITE WINE

Rockford Basket Press, it’s an incredible tribute to the Barossa’s 19th and early 20th-century heritage. It’s a medium bodied styled wine and one I’ll recommend for the rest of my life.

FAVOURITE WINERY

I love visiting Rockford Wines in Adelaide; they produce some of my favourite wines in the world and are wholeheartedly committed to traditional Australian wine trade which I love to support.

TELL US ABOUT THE REBIRTH OF THE SKINNY DOG HOTEL

The Skinny Dog Hotel was originally called the Greyhound, there was two with the same name in Melbourne and it ended up being renamed The Skinny Dog Hotel. The new rooftop is an outcome of the landlord purchasing four new shopfronts which gave us the ability to expand, we are very excited! It’s retractable roof, which means it’s perfect for any weather Melbourne throws at us as well.

WHAT’S ON THE MENU

The menu is filled with lots of share items. We love to encourage togetherness and have people try everything we have on offer. Some of my favourites are the kingfish, oysters, whole snapper, pork hock and of course our famous Parma when I’m after a good classic meal.

WHAT COCKTAILS SHOULD WE TRY

We have our signature cocktail, The Oliver Collins, which is a refreshing mix of grapefruit gin, Cointreau, citrus and mint as well as a heightened version of the classic margarita with Chilli and Cucumber. I would also recommend the Vo Unit and Lychee Mojito as well as a Negroni.

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