Before anyone ever uttered the phrase ‘hidden Melbourne laneway gem’, there was Punch Lane, a cosy restaurant and wine bar that’s been going steady since 1995. Well now Punch Lane has a sister venue, down in the basement, Melbourne’s new late-night wine and raclette hotspot—Juliet.
The name comes from Juliet Terrace, the CBD alley we now know as Liverpool St. A little nod to the city’s roots. And as underground vino bunkers go, this place ticks all the boxes. The lighting is warm and moody, there’s a roaring fireplace surrounded by leather wingbacks, even a flash of pink neon to keep things contemporary. Exposed pipes, white-washed bricks and polished concrete round out the aesthetic nicely.
Up at the bustling open kitchen and bar you’ll find an interesting (and highly curated) little menu. Juliet will be opening just four whites and four reds each evening, and patrons are encouraged to speak up and recommend their favourite labels. There’s a big focus on female winemakers too—local vintners like Corrina Wright from Oliver’s Taranga and Sarah Crowe from The Yarra Valley.
If vino isn’t your speed, order up a glass of the Tequila Old Fashioned, spiked with agave, chocolate bitters and grapefruit, or maybe a Cider Sangria, mixed with Ezra Brooks bourbon. Goes down a treat.
The menu is a garden of small surprises. Little hand-sized nibbles to line the stomach before curtain call. The stuffed Mt Zero olives (filled with spiced mince, crumbed then fried) might be the greatest bar snack of all time. But you really need to keep an eye out for Juliet’s raclette and jazz nights: gooey wheels of melted cow’s cheese and live jazz tunes from 7pm. How’s that for a combo...
Juliet can be booked out any time for private event hire.
Image credit: Griffin Simm