Bar Americano wants you to buy a stranger a drink

Bar Americano, Melbourne

Bar Americano, Melbourne

It's the random acts of kindness that stick in your mind, often delivered by a stranger with no expectation of reward. But what if those gestures were part of a city's culture? In Naples they are, and it could catch on in Melbourne if Bar Americano owner Matt Bax has his way.

Having recently visited Naples, Bax was reminded of the tradition of caffè sospeso, the suspended coffee, a practice where those feeling flush will pay for two coffees at the espresso bar so the next person in need gets a freebie. Bax felt that his own city was becoming more inconsiderate and decided to bring the concept home with him.

"Just because we are growing up into a big crowded city doesn't mean our values must deteriorate," he says.

Last week, Bar Americano introduced a suspended drinks list so patrons can gift a fellow Melburnian an espresso, house Negroni or Amaro Americano. Those who choose to partake will pay standard bar prices for their own drink, but the second drink is subsidised by the bar to encourage people to spread the love. So far the Negroni - the most expensive of the three - has been the most popular choice, a promising sign for Bax's civic-minded move.

"A simple gesture can go far beyond the monetary value," he says.

Make Bar Americano's Modern Lemonade, a not-so-soft drink

The pay-it-forward concept has been seen at other venues around the country, with many cafés giving customers the chance to purchase an extra coffee for those in need. At Rosa's Fresh Pizza in Philadelphia, the Italian tradition has inspired 'pay-it-forward pizza', helping to feed thousands of homeless people.

Bax explains that Bar Americano's system may only involve one beverage, but it's an investment into a better society. It's the little things, right?

Bar Americano, 20 Presgrave Place, Melbourne, Vic, baramericano.com


Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
Four Pillars releases a new batch of its Australian Christmas Gin
03.11.2017
Love, Tilly Devine’s new chapter
26.10.2017
The World's 50 Best Bars 2017
10.10.2017
Seedlip, a non-alcoholic distilled spirit, arrives in Australia
10.10.2017
Bar Americano wants you to buy a stranger a drink
05.09.2017
Jacoby’s, a Twin Peaks-themed tiki bar, opens in Enmore
18.08.2017
The Gourmet Traveller podcast

Each fortnight we round up the most interesting characters from the food world for your listening pleasure. We chat to chefs, cooks, authors, bar tenders and baristas - anyone who has something new and interesting to say about the way we like to eat and drink.

Listen
Recipe collections

Looking for fresh dinner ideas? Not sure how to make the most out of seasonal produce? Or do you need to plan the perfect party menu? Our recipe collections have you covered.

See more

You might also like...

Jennifer Hawkins Sesion tequila

Tequila is the new black. At least it is for Jennifer Hawkin...

Top drops: March 2017

From a floral bottle of English bubble to a tangy gin perfec...

Signature drink: Hains & Co's Crimson Mainsail

Don’t be fooled – this cocktail looks pretty but packs a pun...

Australian sour beers

Craft brewing in Australia is hitting a sour note, and that’...

Original Sin's Grande Bellezza

A fresh, bright Italian-accented sundowner.

Short restaurant wine lists

Small is the order of the day in restaurants, with tight win...

Mitch Monaghan, Nespresso

We caught up with Nespresso Australia and New Zealand coffee...

Signature Drink: The Baxter Inn’s Charlestown

Grab the mink and the fedora – this Baxter cocktail means bu...

Game up your G&Ts with a Distiller’s Strength Gin

Is this the year of gin going where no botanicals have gone ...

Seedlip, a non-alcoholic distilled spirit, arrives in Australia

The question of what to drink when you’re not having a drink...

Signature drinks

Thirty of our favourite drinks from Australia's best bars an...

Hot 100 2015 - Drinks

The world is getting hotter and we’re not talking about glob...

Mover, shaker

The best thing you can take to a party, according to cocktai...

Best Australian red wines for drinking now

Australians are getting a taste for thirst-quenching reds ma...

Champagne breakfast: a question of etiquette

Campari with your cornflakes? Whether booze is okay at break...