Bar Rochford vs. Molly’s

Yashi Compares

Yashi is undertaking a double degree in International Relations/ Environmental Studies and hails from Western Sydney.
Her column is like a Yelp review for things that aren’t restaurants and instead of useful information, it’s incoherent rambling for 800 words and she doesn’t even get promoted to ‘Top Contributor’ status.

Molly+Bar+Canberra+Food+Photographer

Bar Rochford:

The only indication that you’ve reached your destination lies in a small, illuminated sign that reads ‘WINE BAR’. The ‘N’ is backwards. Your friend nods in approval. He carries his keys on a caribena hooked to the belt loop of his distressed black jeans. He doesn’t even climb. It makes no sense. Neither does the sign. You figure this bar must be pretty meta. As you climb a set of dimly lit stairs, you’re greeted by the sounds of a scratchy Third Wave Jazz record. A quick Google search informs you that Third Wave Jazz isn’t a thing. It should be.

I venture into this bar on a Friday evening. It’s full of young, well-dressed public servants and bearded men with their pant legs rolled up to the heavens. I file into one of their four leather booths feeling inadequate about my lowly hospitality job and regular length pants; a candle stuffed inside an empty wine bottle is my only source of light. I tell myself that this is clearly a sign that I should down a bottle of wine and wait for some kind of revelation. I choose instead to let the bartender make me something ‘special’. He makes me a Negroni – one part gin, one part vermouth Rosso and one part Campari, garnished with an orange wedge. A friend describes it as being as bitter as her attitude towards men. That’s not completely true. The Negroni, at least, has a hint of sweetness. It’s strong, though. It needs to be sipped, and the flavours savoured. I do neither of these things. I hold my nose, tilt my head back, and gulp down all $18 worth. The bartender must not have heard me over the Third Wave Jazz tunes playing behind him but I definitely said I like my cocktails to be light, refreshing and preferably sipped through a straw.

Pro (debateable) Tip: choose a drink from their seasonal cocktail menu. Rumour has it they include a description of what’s in each one, so you won’t get blindsided. Don’t ask for a surprise. 4/10 for the drink, 8/10 for the bar’s ambience.

Molly’s:

Google tells me Molly’s is located on London Circuit, so I assume it should be easy to find, but thankfully I do my research before I leave. Tripadvisor member since 2015 and Level 5 contributor, ‘Swirls underscore and underscore Curls’ (formally stylised as Swirls_and_Curls), clarifies that it’s actually off Hobart Place. I breathe a sigh of relief before realising that that means nothing to me. I wasn’t even aware a Hobart Place existed in Canberra. I message my more cultured friend and beg her to take me to the bar.

I’m led into a dark and empty courtyard. A small yellow light bulb hangs down in front of an ordinary doorframe. My friend informs me that we’ve arrived. I say my last goodbyes to the people I love and taking my cues from The Script, pray to a God that I don’t believe in. I have no rational side, so the entirety of me concludes that I must be about to die on London Circuit, off Hobart Place. To my surprise, I’m instead taken down a set of bunker-like stairs to a small speakeasy whisky bar.

Having learnt from the error of my ways, I order straight off the signature cocktail list. While it makes sense to order a whisky based cocktail on account of me being in a whisky bar, I opt for a glass of ‘Thanks Grandma’. The description reads, ‘a twist on a Tom Collins, we’ve infused Hendricks gin with dill, and added cucumber juice. Fresh and refreshing’. If Chris Traeger had a favourite alcoholic beverage, it would be this. It’s literally the healthiest thing in the entire world (false). With each sip, I become more determined to go for a walk up Mount Ainslie in newly purchased Lorna Jane active wear. It gives me hope that one day I’ll be able to tag my pictures with #fitfam without pretending it’s ironic.

I give this drink a 10/10 for all the hope it gives me about my future. The bar itself isn’t too bad either, if a bit cramped – 9/10.