Vernon Chalker is Melbourne’s foremost impresario of gin-sodden good times. And he “who wishes to understand the poet,” Goethe wrote, “must go to the poet’s land.” It’s quite a land. His fiefdom includes Gin Palace, Madame Brussels, Collins Quarter and, now, Bar Ampere – an all-day, all-night affair nestled in Russell Place next to an electrical substation. Hence Ampere, the measurement of electrical current. (Thanks, Harley, mate)
There appears to be a nascent trend in Melbourne towards small, European-style bars specialising in aperitivi, digestivi and small, vivifying dishes of food. Bar Ampere adheres to this formula but is distinguished by its literacy and eccentricity. There are few venues in Melbourne that could claim to be inspired by Marinetti’s Futurist Manifesto. In keeping with the futurist aesthetic, sous vide – the modernist cooking technique du jour – features heavily. It’s Metropolis meets Autobahn meets things you put in your mouth.