Head to Solomon Street tomorrow night and you’ll be greeted by the glowing pink, frosted windows of Adelaide’s newest establishment, Cry Baby. Jon Di Pinto’s debut venue is a unique fusion of Melbourne drinking den meets LA dive bar and is already tipped to be our new favourite spot to grab a drink this winter.
Tucked between Currie and Hindley Street, the laneway bar was first inspired by a late-night visit to Melbourne’s Heartbreaker. “The thing that got me about Heartbreaker was nothing to do with the space itself, which was awesome, but more the time I had there,” explains Jon.
Hooked on the idea of bridging the gap between Adelaide’s established pub scene and refined boutique bars, Jon sought to create a space where punters can make their own fun without fear of judgement.
Earning his bartending stripes at Street ADL (now Bistro Blackwood), you might also recognise Jon’s distinctive swagger from behind the counters of Bank Street Social and Hains & Co.
While his drink making abilities are indisputable, don’t expect Cry Baby to replicate Jon’s roots. Citing 70s rock ‘n’ roll with a little more polish as his muse, Jon has shunned any agenda or pretence to instead hone in on nailing the carefree ambiance.
“Still good quality booze, but a step back from the drinks themselves and going for something that’s more about the atmosphere and the vibes – the ‘good time’ feel,” he explains.
Designed by Studio AKA, Cry Baby exudes an effortlessly cool feel.
“I fell in love with the space straight away, it was an old car park so it meant there was a little bit more work to do but we could really put our stamp on it,” says Jon.
The fit out is warm and alluring, the kind of bar you could lose track of time in. Plush emerald green booths line the walls, offset by a mammoth black and white bar and complete with gold accents throughout.
Grandiose rusted metal doors open onto a monochrome tiled threshold, further evidence of Cry Baby’s carefully planned design that breaks the confines of the grunge dive bar for a subtly sophisticated finish.
The pièce de résistance though is the hot pink neon light commanding attention on the rear wall, which is sure to feature in many Instagram posts. Other unique touches include the circa ’73 juke box, taking pride of place in the corner. A pool table is also on hand for those wanting to play a game or two, but has the ability to be quickly whisked aside when it comes time for a boogie.
“We’re trying to cover all aspects of what people want to do, and to just be able to change it up depending on what the night is doing,” says Jon.
It may be all about the vibes but the drinks list doesn’t disappoint. Local favourites join specialty American imports across the bar’s 12 taps, so expect to see brews from Mismatch, Young Henry’s, Clare Valley Brewing Company and Fox Hat on the regular line-up.
Jon stresses that Cry Baby doesn’t discriminate when it comes to booze. American influence sees a range of unusual whiskies, bourbons and tequilas hitting the shelf, but rest assured the team are more than happy to whip up a classic G&T or vodka soda.
As for the food, Jon has opted to leave it to neighbouring pizza bar, Sunny’s, but will have supplies on hand for those in need of a cheeky midnight snack.
“We’ll serve hot dogs ‘til late and if you’ve had a few drinks [and] get a bit hungry, you can grab a hot dog,” he says. “It’s just a bit of fun really”.
Cry Baby will be open into the early hours of the morning, seven days a week, promising good vibes regardless of the occasion and your drink of choice to go in hand.
“If it’s before your night out, or at the end of the night, we’re going to be open ‘til late every day, so come in and put some songs on the jukebox, play a couple of games of pool and have some fun,” says Jon.
Cry Baby officially opens Saturday June 30, 2018.
WHERE? 11 Solomon Street, Adelaide
WHEN? Monday – Sunday: 16.00 – 02.00
Photography by Ben Neale.