Photos by Talis Heggart
If you’ve fallen in love with the informal, America-inspired feel of Cry Baby, its team’s quirky, casual new joints are for you.
Jon Di Pinto and partners Sean Howard and Matt Blyth are set to open neighbouring bars Shotgun Willie’s and Memphis Slim’s House of Blues in Gilbert Place.
The first, Shotgun Willie’s, is a Western-style saloon with American beers on tap, an emphasis on bourbon and whisky, and southern barbecue cooked by chef Kane Boase.
“Cry Baby was based on American dive bars, so it felt sort of natural to design another dive-style spot,” Di Pinto says.
The bar will be characterized by its casual feel, which Di Pinto describes as a “truck stop, saloon country western bar,” with food challenges for customers and barbecued classics, such as Philly cheese steaks and chicken-fried steaks, served in foil and paper bags.
Both spots will have pool tables, dart boards, and live music, but their playlists will differ. Memphis Slim’s will have a blues focus, while Shotgun Willie’s will play more country-style tunes, exemplified by the fact that the bar is only following three people on Instagram: Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash.
With live music every weekend, Memphis Slim’s House of Blues will stay true to its bluesy title. The Chicago-inspired bar will have street food, small bites, American bottled beers, and cocktails.
While both bars are designed by Stephen Duddy, Memphis Slim’s is described as Shotgun Willie’s more sophisticated sister, with a slightly more refined feel and emphasis on more upscale cocktails. However, both bars are designed to be low-key.
“We didn’t go for the clean-cut style other bars in Adelaide are going for at the moment; It’s a bit rough around the edges,” Di Pinto says.
“You can get dressed up and go, but it’s done in an unrefined way.”
With the openings just weeks away, Di Pinto is anxious, excited, and grateful he got to build something with those close to him. Blyth and Howard are his good friends, his brother-in-law has helped out, and his mate from school helped with the construction.
“I’ve been more involved in this process than I was with Cry Baby,” he says.
“Getting to do this one with mates has been a whole new experience as well.”
Memphis Slim’s will open the first week of February, with Shotgun Willie’s shortly after.
Find Shotgun Willie’s and Memphis Slim’s at Gilbert Place, Adelaide 5000.