Just Open: The Bolt Hole, Byron Bay

The Bolt Hole in Byron Bay is the new venue by The Barber Shop's founder.
The Bolt Hole in Byron Bay is the new venue by The Barber Shop's founder.  Photo: Supplied

A new tinnie-only bar has opened in Byron Bay. Tucked behind an old church door is The Bolt Hole, the latest venture for Chris Mills (aka Millsy), the man that brought you The Barber Shop in Sydney. 

Step inside and you'll see green Chesterfields and a tarnished copper bar, but there are no taps or bottles in sight, since bottles have six times the carbon footprint of a can when production and transport are taken into account. "Plus, it's always great to have a good old Aussie tinnie," says Millsy. Tinnies have been the domain of big-brand breweries, but today craft beers like Sydney's Young Henrys and Melbourne's Mountain Goat are jumping on board the tinnie bandwagon. There's a huge selection of whiskys and gins on offer, too. But don't miss The Bolt Hole signature cocktail – a Bacardi miniature served in a just-drilled young coconut ($21). There's also the Rye'n'Gosling with rye whisky and fresh-pressed Granny Smith apple juice ($15) - let's just hope it tastes as good as Ryan looks.

All cocktails are served over Japanese nugget ice, a super-dense ice creation in cubes the size of sweet corn. "It looks beautiful in the glass and keeps the drink cold without diluting it. People are doing flakes now, but nuggets are the way forward!" says Millsy.

The Bolt Hole in Byron Bay serves cocktails and has a tinnie-only focus.
The Bolt Hole in Byron Bay serves cocktails and has a tinnie-only focus.  Photo: Supplied

Paired with the drinks, Jordan (Beans) Brannan (former sous chef at Bondi's Panama House) will be replacing shrimps on the barbie with good ol' American style barbecue. Sink your teeth into certified Angus beef brisket ($22), apple wood-smoked pork ribs ($30), smoked sticky salmon ($24), and hickory-smoked chicken ($24), all grilled on a hand-crafted, wood-fire smoker, imported straight from the USA.

Keeping in line with Byron's eco-friendly feels, the venue is stitched together with reclaimed material from the area. "Literally, just over the road there was an old backpackers with all these timber beams out the front and we said 'we'll take those!'" They also managed to nab timber from an old bridge and a closed surf shop up the road. A 1950s lawnmower has been cleverly repurposed into a coffee table. 

Contrary to its name, The Bolt Hole sits atop a two-storey building and its own description as a "place of refuge, grog & barbecue" pretty much sums the joint up. 

"The only way I can describe it, is like a pregnancy," says Millsy about getting The Bolt Hole up and running. "We gave birth to a bar. All the staff and builders all put their love into it and embraced it. We've produced something that's quite unique, especially for Byron."

Open Mon-Sat, 4pm-midnight and Sun 4pm-11pm.

9 Fletcher St, Byron Bay, 02 6685 8410, thebolthole.com.au