Working Melbourne's penchant for intimate laneway spaces, Collins Quarter has long been considered one of Melbourne's best bars by CBD drinkers, with four unique spaces hidden in the shadows of glittering towers. You can sit under the stars in the Magnolia courtyard, drink cocktails in Blind Alley Bar, tuck into great grub at Colin's Pub, or indulge at RA Cigar Lounge.
What you haven't been able to do until now is park yourself on Collins Street itself. That's all set to change, because the Collins Quarter guys have taken over the shop front space that formerly housed Franco Jewellers and will open aperitif and digestif bar, Doc Martin's, showcasing the European tradition of pre and post-dinner drinkies that suits the style of soon-to-be high-end retail neighbours. We'll overlook the fact this adds up to five quarters.
'We like being this tucked away venue, but we really needed some tables and chairs on the street,' says Collins Quarter co-owner, Yuksel Yucetepe. 'I'm from Europe and I enjoy having an aperitif before dinner. I'm really structured when it comes to drinking and eating, so I'll have a vermouth or a mistelle at the beginning of my meal, with an Armagnac or something like that afterwards.'
They've imported a wide range of European aperitifs and digestifs for Doc Martin's, including Dolin Bitter de Chambery, Normandin Mercier Pineau Blanc and Montenegro. Food-wise, they'll serve up head chef Nikki Smith's venue-wide menu, with charred market fish on Wednesday lunches and yum stuff like Bacchus Marsh pork belly and a braised lamb shoulder all week long.
In a move that might ruffle a few Melbourne feathers, Doc Martin's bar will also be doling out streetside coffee with the beans sourced from Sydney's Pablo & Rusty. 'It's a bit of a point of difference', Yucetepe chuckles.
Doc Martin's will look pretty snazzy too, with Juicy Design doing the interiors, with walnut stools at the well-stocked bar, tables and chairs from European brand Thonet and street furniture sourced from Tait.
Doc Martin's opens to the public Friday 10th October
Collins Quarter | 86 Collins Street in Melbourne
Main Image Credit: Cookie + Kate.