Bar Bambi opens its doors on November 11 and will set a gold standard for late nights in Melbourne and an evening on the town | Photography: Courtesy of Bar Bambi / Mark Roper

It’s A Date: Nick Russian Brings Upmarket Supper Bar to the Heart of Melbourne

The night away always starts with good intentions.

Bar Bambi

Night-life king, Nick Russian knows all too well how to entertain a good party. And his newest venture, Bar Bambi, alongside his wife Rozalia Russian and business partner and brother Daniel Russian is set to bring to town a modern take on old-world glamour.

Dubbed as the latest sophisticated, stylish and glamour spot to “raise a glass to … anything,” Bar Bambi is a place where patrons can go and enjoy a drink and food and still be entertained.

For when you’re craving oysters, arancini, pizza, and pasta, followed by tiramisu. And it’s 11 pm.

Bar Bambi

Nestled in the heart of Melbourne’s AC/DC Lane, what was once the old Cherry Bar, Bar Bambi is set to open its doors on November 11 and will set a gold standard for late nights in Melbourne and an evening on the town.

Nick says Bar Bambi is not a restaurant; rather, it’s a bar with food.

You can go for a drink, or you can go for dinner and have a slice of pizza and a negroni at midnight. But on a Friday or Saturday night at a certain time, it will become more of a party, but at the same time, it is definitely not a nightclub.

Nick Russian

Nick is no stranger to the hospitality scene, having co-owned the celebrity hotspot, Eve nightclub with his brother, Daniel for around 10 years. And, while Nick is acclaimed for his success with Eve, he says things have changed – he is no longer 25, and the vibe of Bar Bambi will cohere with a more mature, sophisticated and inner-city crowd.

The key part to choosing our location such as city is that its great passing trade. As opposed to our previous venue being a massive nightclub in the middle of nowhere, we thought, let’s go to where the people are now.

Nick said.

Their last name might be Russian but their Italian roots can be identified in every curve of Bar Bambi.

Nick and Daniel’s nonne ran a small bar on the sparkling shores of Trieste, in Italy’s north which is where Bambi got its name from.

They has a small bar called Bambino [meaning Bambi or something small] all those years ago, so that’s where the name Bambi sort of originated from.

Nick said.

The fit-out is the collective work of Nick and Daniel, and celebrated designer David Hicks. The host of interior approaches echoes the expression of a modern-day supper bar, transcending a vintage aesthetic. In fact, New York’s prominent Dante bar was the influence behind its upmarket supper club-type vibe.

We went to a famous bar in New York called Dante and fell in love with the whole idea of a bit of a Negroni type bar. So, yes we did take some inspiration from Dante’s in particular.

Nick said.
Photography: Courtesy of Bar Bambi / Mark Roper

From curved, mood-lit ceilings, to the exquisite selection of blush and emerald velvet loungers – the tone is set inside with low-lit Italian chandeliers, brass finishes, crystal sconces, a grand piano, Italian Marble and an all-night flowing negroni fountain.

The choice of classic, Italian cocktails on Bambi’s menu list is nothing short of spectacular. From traditional favourites such as the Negroni and Amaretto Sour to the much-loved seasonal Bellini – Bar Bambi even has a tiramisu martini on its menu – which is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

And as for the dining opinions, the selection is good – very good. Whipped ricotta, Cacciatore salame, 36-month aged Parmigiano and cerignola olives, are just some of the antipasti choices, to begin with. And, as for mains; Lobster pizza, Pappardelle lamb ragu and pork cotoletta on the bone are just a few of the tough decisions patrons will have to make when they book a table at Bar Bambi.

Open from Wednesday to Sunday, Nick says Bar Bambi will offer entertainment every day of the week with the kitchen open until midnight on weekdays and all night on weekends. Thursdays are piano nights, while on Fridays and Saturdays, there’ll be late-night dining and back-to-back DJ sets. And spritz Sundays will also incorporate the piano. 

On a Friday night and Saturday night, our whole angle is going to be driving, late-night dining and DJs. And then on a Thursday night, we’re going to have a live piano singer and on a Sunday afternoon, there will be a live piano singer. We will continue to have something on every other night and will have some rotating entertainment.

Nick said.

After a tough two years of lockdowns and restrictions due to Covid-19 in Victoria, Nick says he is thrilled about this next chapter and happy to see Melbourne slowly returning back to normal.

We’re really looking forward to just stabilisation. And once everything’s stable, really looking forward to people coming out in a covid free world and enjoying themselves again.

Nick said

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