Eight years after taking the bold move of opening Bar None, an underground cocktail bar that wouldn't be out of place in the CBD, in the hitherto underground-cocktail-bar-free suburb of Camberwell, Gen and Michael Cotter decided to open a second venue upstairs. Two weeks later, fire gutted the building.
Undeterred – as you'd expect from a brother and sister team who'd been brave enough to bring high end cocktails, fine wines and craft beer to Camberwell in the first place – they rebuilt. And, in 2012, they reopened first Bar None and then East of Everything.
The former has always had an excellent beer list, even when such things were rarer than hen's teeth, but craft beer was an even greater focus upstairs, with five of the six taps protruding from a tiled wall behind the bar pouring a rotating selection of Aussie and international beers from the off and a relatively short by perfectly formed bottle list giving the venue the kind of offering to which every decent small bar should aspire.
Roll forward another few years and they've continued to move with the times. While the beers were always expertly curated when there was just a handful to play with, as of 2019 there are twelve of them taking centre stage behind the bar – and no less thought applied to what pours through them.
The venue itself is a multi-faceted affair, with elements that variously suggest industrial, homely, British tavern – even hospital theatre – plus eye-catching artwork and a veranda that's painted white and, when lit up by rings of light at night, feels like sitting in a cloud. Subdued lighting, a handful of sofas and choice tunes lend East of Everything a seriously laid back charm too.
Given Michael Cotter is also the man behind the uber-popular Gumbo Kitchen, there's good pedigree in the kitchen. The menu takes inspiration from the length and breadth of the Americas, with many dishes designed with beer in mind: quesadillas, burgers and lots of things well suited to their impressive hot sauce collection (complete with warning to "APPROACH WITH CAUTION").
As the decade drew to a close, a third element to the Cotters' mini-empire rose – all the way to the middle floor. When the office space there was vacated they decided to add a hearty filling to their already substantial sandwich in the shape of Rosalita's. A dive bar with craft beer and natural wine at its heart, plus jukebox, pool table and bottleshop, it adds further appeal to a unique address that deserves to have plenty of people consulting their rail map and heading east.