The Bishop of Ostia

MelbourneEating Out

The Bishop of Ostia

Wash away your sins at super-cool bar...

You might think an ecclesiastical theme an odd choice for a bar, but let’s not forget that devout monks have been knocking out home-brew for centuries. In fact, to understand the Bishop of Ostia, in the Melbourne district of East Brunswick, you have to look at the sins of the father, or rather of the mother.

Next door to the bar is the Pope Joan café, owned by the same pair of entrepreneurs, and named after the woman who became supreme ruler of the Catholic church while pretending to be a man, only to be rumbled after giving birth to a son while on horseback. The son became the Bishop of Ostia, and the two maintain a close relationship here, sharing their outdoor space as both beer garden at night and kitchen garden by day.

The Bishop, whose exterior resembles a mini castle with small turrets at either corner, has been blessed with some divine interior work by Matt Rawlins of Figure Ground – very urban with a somewhat risky yet successful grey brick partitioning continuing from outside in, and austere seating. A mural of pixellated cherry blossom dominates one wall and stops things getting gloomy. The Bishop of Ostia is one clergyman who should gather a healthy congregation…

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