Hands up if all your nights out end with a pizza at Heartbreaker and karaoke at Jankara. First off, you’re a bloody legend. But secondly, it might be time to kick the habit. There is a world outside the ‘usual’.
Melbourne’s bar scene has never been better. Throw a brick and you’ll hit some hidden, basement speakeasy spinning molten raclette and live jazz, or a loft-style converted wonderland, all glowing toadstools and Narnia libraries. They do exist, and they’re open right now.
Here are five new bars you need to check out this weekend.
If you haven’t been to Storyville yet, we’re betting you know eight people that have. They probably gram’d the whole thing incessantly too, right? Save yourself further pain and go see what all the fuss is about. It’s probably the most-hyped bar opening of the last 12 months. Luminous mushrooms sprouting from the walls, a 14-ft gold birdcage in the corner, and cocktails like DIY Polyjuice Potions: you get the gin, ginger liqueur, kiwi, basil and lime, plus your own little cauldron. All that's missing are the human hairs of your enemies (note: please don't add human hair to your cocktails).
Now the Provincial Hotel isn’t exactly cutting-edge, but did you know they just unveiled a fancy new rooftop terrace? Complete with wall-to-wall city views and excellent burgers? Well you do now. Vintage patio furniture, mish mash colours, rambling vines and a crumbling, dilapidated sort of vibe—it’s the city’s hottest new roof garden. The 10 craft beers on tap and sassy cocktail list don’t go so bad either. Try the Dance with the Devil—velvety undertones, spiked with vanilla and butterscotch. Keep an eye out for the Dorito-dusted burgers too...
The doors have been closed for three years, but Baroq House is re-opening today, and it’s looking better than ever. Largely thanks to $5m and the professional eye of renowned designer Fady Hachem. The new-look Baroq has a certain...Eyes Wide Shut feel—elegant chandeliers, gold and gilt everywhere, soft finishings and edgy noir opulence. The jury’s out on the swinger parties, but cocktails and Friday night nibbles are good to go. Food comes courtesy of Om Nom at the Adelphi, and the cocktail list looks like a stunner. Definitely the new ‘it’ bar in town.
Change of tack here—from grandeur and decadence in the CBD to a kitsch little hole-in-the-wall in Brunswick. Daddy is a higgledy-piggledy drinking den, the brainchild of sisters Ellie Hunt, Shellinda King and their mate Nicholas Limberis. It looks a bit like a house from the 1950s, but more importantly, it’s doing $12 espresso martinis on Friday nights...garnished with a stick of choc Pocky. Yep, choc Pocky espresso martinis. The bar also doubles as a gallery space for local artists, and the nooks are hung with rotating exhibitions, available for purchase. Head up to the trophy-lined mezzanine level to get a better look at what’s currently showing.
One of our favourite openings of 2017, and still no-one’s really talking about it. Whisky Den is a pint-sized Yokocho-style whisky bar on Russel St, just around the corner from The Forum. It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it sort of place: just a few chairs up at the bar, with a mezzanine level above. The whisky collection is as good as you’ll find anywhere in the city, and head bartender Kevin (ex Bar Americano) does a mean Old Fashioned: a zesty orange sinus-blaster, using Old Forester from Kentucky.
Thirsty for more? We've got you covered. Here's 68 of the best bars in the city.
Image credit: Michelle Jarni