The sad but true fact is Pugg Mahones is no more. Far from sad but, true is the Hardware lane building has had a little reno. Scrambling for footpath space for eager awaiting patrons on an ever-growing waitlist with Hardware society is Nieuw Amsterdam open for lunch, dinner and as a late night speakeasy.
Yes, you can make a booking and yes it is worth it. The décor and vibe reeks of NYC, with unsubtle notes from an old friend and favourite; Fitzgerald’s, Gatsby. From the casady-and-greene font on the front door and a gin stocked bar right through to the Reuben and Clam Chowder, there is a blatant and definite stamp of the city in this city.
The volume of space is separated by levels ranging from dingy and divey through to the elegant with a large open bar space and snug tables hidden around dark corners and columns across each level. Bright during the day with a dark, speakeasy mystique in the evening, the space feels small and intimate wherever you chose to sit.
Lunchtime is filled with diner style sandwiches and meat on the bone where as the dinner menu focuses on share plates ranging in size that is mostly dominated by beer snacks and decedent deserts. The Nieuw Reuben served with bbq beef brisket and jammed with sauerkraut, generous slices of thick cheese, pickles and sriracha mayo, is quite the mouthful. Served with fat potatoes and a green salad, the sandwich is an authentic homage with a distinctly Melbourne twist.
From the meat tray selection, you can choose between bbq chicken, beef brisket or pork belly chops. The meat is served on a prison style aluminium lunch tray with a side of decadent mash and gravy with the consistency of cream, sweet bread and a half pickle. As to be expected, the pork is cooked perfectly with the natural juices left to simmer on the plate, dripping into the potato mash and gravy. Oddly enough, there is a selection of random Vietnamese inspired dishes that are a little out of place but very popular with lunch time clientele.
As for the bar, don’t let the eager selection of spirits fool you. The wine list is outstanding and like all Melbourne bars, they are dedicated to quality craft beers from near and far including regular favourites, Little Creatures, Hoegaarden, White Rabbit and Leffe Brune.
Whether you’re dropping in for a late boozy brunch, ribs and bourbon lunch or a late night (or early morning) cocktail over desert, Nieuw Amsterdam will happily oblige.
106-112 Hardware St,
open all the time