Not content with working in some of Melbourne’s top bars, Fitzroy lads Chris, Josh and James turned their backyard and basement into an ad hoc speakeasy for their friends and friends of friends to enjoy a few cold ones, a game of Scrabble and a chat. That went down so well that they decided to transplant the operation to a dedicated premises. The Rooks Return is that premises, still a backyard and basement place with the emphasis on homely hospitality, but with a few nice additions.
Despite being on infamously hectic Brunswick Street, The Rooks Return has a hideaway vibe to it, with a classic use of dark wood and oiled surfaces and lots of nooks and crannies — one such is the little arts space hosting selections of work by local artists. The outdoor beer garden is another area that benefits from the venue’s fondness for graphics, and as it’s covered the finely detailed wall mural should be safe from the elements, as will the drinkers.