Atticus Finch

<em>Atticus Finch.</em>
Atticus Finch. 

129 Lygon St Brunswick East, VIC 3057

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Opening hours Tues-Thurs 5pm-11pm, Fri 5pm-1am, Sat 4pm-1am, Sun 4pm-10pm
Phone 03 9387 0188

Naming a bar after one of literature's great and decent men - a lawyer no less - can initially seem like a puzzling choice. Scenes of booze-filled bonhomie are, after all, in short supply in To Kill A Mockingbird and, although Atticus is not without spirit, it is an altogether different one to that which can be bottled.

But spend a little time in his namesake bar in Lygon Street, Brunswick East, and the connection becomes clearer. A small blackboard hanging on the front door reads, "We like our vineyards and brewers small and independent", and once inside the long, wooden-floor space, you get the feeling that this is a very decent and democratic kind of bar.

A low-key, quality fitout provides space for most permutations and combinations. There are window benches for solo drinkers, a communal table for those who like to mix, a series of comfortable, cosy booths, regular chairs and tables and, out the back, a decked outdoor space and a renovated shed equipped with a pool table.

There are flower arrangements on the tables, wooden shelves stocked with good quality booze, decor that ranges from deer horns to potted succulents and, at the front, a wooden trolley stocked with novels. A turntable behind the bar provides a wide-ranging mix of music that continues the democratic theme.

The drinks menu, contained within the pages of old cloth-covered how-to manuals, avoids most of the usual suspects and includes 24 beers by the bottle (Estrella Galacia from Spain, $7) as well as draught beer and a solid selection of Old and New World wine at reasonable prices. There are good quality spirits, too, including four varieties of whisky from Yarra Valley distillery Bakery Hill ($11-$14). A short list of bar snacks is written on a blackboard menu and - inclusively - ranges from cheese to chips.

Atticus Finch is one of those carefully realised bars that reward repeated viewings. Playing to character type, it appears quiet, unassuming and pleasant enough at first meeting, and then gradually wins you over with its solidity, generosity and good-heartedness. It is a bar that lives up to its name.