Walking into Knightsbridge Penthouse, the cocktails-and-good-times standard on Mort Street in Braddon, brings back so many memories of nights with great drinks and random encounters. In a bar that has been dishing out the best of the local cocktail scene for ten years, there’s a wonderful feeling of familiarity for many Canberrans at ‘Knighty’.
On a recent visit, we sat down with Bar Manager Josh Nedeljkovic to talk about the philosophy of Knightsbridge Penthouse and what has kept it running so strong for so long.
“It’s funny,” says Josh. “I’m not sure you can really put it down to any one thing, There are so many elements that make a great bar, and for one to last this long in Canberra – in fact, anywhere – is unusual.”
One aspect that is immediately obvious is the care taken to ensure customers have an experience that is designed for them. Be it from the daily blackboard that features and ever-changing list of six classic cocktails or simply through the engagement of bartenders with customers as they approach the bar. “When time permits we try to slow things and make sure our guests are really comfortable with the drink they are ordering. Whether it’s a simple beer, the perfect wine or a handpicked version of a cocktail, we can only discover what the customer really wants by talking to them!”
There’s also a sense of fun with the feature cocktails – they’re old favourites that might not have seen the light of day since the Seventies (the Singapore Sling and Mai Tai spring to mind), but in the hands of Josh and his team they take on a balance and style that might have previously been thought impossible.
This experience is designed to be a friendly engagement where nobody feels out of place. It’s a sense of community that is built strongly on the philosophies of the bar’s owners, who have built a team of like-minded staff that want to be sure the customers are having as much fun as they are.
“Cocktails shouldn’t be intimidating,” Josh says excitedly. “I want people to just wander in and have fun with what we do. There’s nothing we love more than having that conversation, nailing the mixture of a drink and then watching the customer’s face light up as they take their first sip and nod in approval. It’s amazing!”
Knightsbridge Penthouse is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 4.00pm. Weeknights feature Quiz Nights, themed tastings and LOTS of discussions around cocktails. Meanwhile, on the weekends, feel free to let your hair down with a favourite tipple while some of Canberra’s favourite DJs turn on the tunes and keep the mood upbeat.
It’s been an amazing ten years at Knightsbridge Penthouse, who have managed to keep the feeling fresh and new in an industry where trends and styles can change in the blink of an eye. So, we’d like to propose a toast by raising our bespoke glass of gin and vermouth in salute.
“Here’s to the next decade, Knighty!”