The Closing of Adelaide’s Enigma Bar


enigma bar

Enigma shrooms in the heart of Adelaide’s Hindley Street, enigma bar has been a cultural hub for 24 years, supporting music and community gatherings. However, rising operational costs and difficulties securing local, national and international bands have led owners Eric Ott and his team to make the difficult decision to close the establishment.

The bar specializes in cocktails inspired by the four elements of nature: earth, water, fire and air. For example, the earth cocktail features Palo Santo infused Woods Tenderfoot whiskey, beet syrup and lemon juice, while the air drink consists of rosemary infused Vodka, apple, lime and cucumber. The space also offers a menu of Latin-inspired foods created by chef Edwin Sandoval-Cruz. Guests can enjoy dishes like mezcal-cured fish, homemade pasta, handpies or pastelitos filled with brisket, rice and cabbage salad.

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With equations adorning the walls, ceiling and bar mirrors, enigma bar is not your average cocktail joint. Seb Lyall, who designed the bar with his friend Jason McLennan, wanted to create a “gamified” cocktail experience that allows customers to break the code of cryptic messages sent by the Bletchley Park codebreakers during World War II. The concept won the Vietnam Restaurant and Bar 2023 “Bar of the Year” award, a testament to the bar’s success in its mission to educate and entertain through the art of cocktails.

The bar serves as a meeting place for alternative music fans. In its heyday, it served as the official afterparty for the popular heavy music festival Soundwave and was the go-to venue for many underground bands touring through South Australia. But during the pandemic, a gaping hole developed in its gig calendar as a result of bands cancelling their tours, and Ott says he is struggling to keep up with his rent.

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