Words & Photography: Whiskey & Peanuts
It’s Saturday night and you’re in Melbourne. And so begins the cocktail bar crawl you may or may not have signed up for.
You’ve spent the day weaving through laneways. You’ve eaten your way through the many Jewish bakeries on the south side. You’re all hopped up from the quality Melbourne coffees you sipped on while playing spot-the-hipster in Fitzroy. All that traipsing about is surely enough to make a person thirsty, but here’s a problem all visitors to Melbourne encounter: cocktails are a serious business in this city and there’s no shortage of bars to wet your whistle at, each with its own unique cool factor. Overwhelmed much? Well don’t be—we’ve done all the recon work for you so you can sit back and chillax with your chosen tipple.
Belvedere at New Gold Mountain – Liverpool Street, Chinatown
Head to New Gold Mountain in Chinatown and re-visit the days of old when brothels and boarding houses abounded in this area in the midst of gold rush fever. Order yourself a Belvedere (kinda like the sassier, younger sister of a Negroni) and relax into your Shanghai, opium-den themed surrounds.
Open Mon-Wed 5pm-1am, Thurs 5pm-3am, Fri 5pm-5am, Sat 6pm-5am. Closed Sun.
Secret Cocktail at Gazi – Exhibition Street, Melbourne CBD
We can’t say too much about this one, it’s as secret to us as it is to you. The bartender Michael will make it on the fly if you ask for ‘somethingspecial.’ We will, however, say this: be sure to come here with an empty stomach and a hankering for saganaki, lamb and chips with oregano and feta. This is George Calombaris’ bustling Greek restaurant and crowds don’t lie, people!
Open daily 1130am-12mn.
Bramble at Hats & Tatts – Cecil Street, South Melbourne
You know what goes really well with life-changing BBQ ribs? Lemon-y, gin-y goodness mixed with other spirits we can’t pronounce that taste like blackberry. Happily for you (and us), this super refreshing cocktail can be enjoyed in tandem with the ribs at this American BBQ style joint. Get a little funky as you watch Michael Jordan doing his basketball thing in the 90’s on the screens around you, or fine-tune your pinball skills.
Open Wed-Thurs 4pm-1am, Fri 12nn-1am, Sat 4pm-1am, Sun 2pm-10pm. Closed Mon-Tue.
Pisco Sour at Pastuso – AC/DC Lane, Melbourne CBD
There are few things in life that can top a sweet, smooth pisco sour at sundown. At the risk of saying ‘Peru’ too many times, a Peruvian restaurant owned by a top-notch Peruvian chef is a pretty good sign that they know their stuff when it comes to all the P’s – Peru and pisco. If delicious food is your thing, stick around for dinner where the ceviche is fresh, the pork is perfection and…well, you really can’t go wrong at Pastuso.
Open Mon-Sun 12nn-11pm.
Background Noise at The Beaufort – Rathdowne Street, Carlton
Old Tom gin mixed with rhubarb, lemon juice and just a hint of rosemary. Not only is this quite possibly the prettiest-looking cocktail north of the border, it’s also balanced to perfection and a complete sensory phenomenon. You can also live out your graffiti-wannabe dreams by scratching something into the bar – it’s totally allowed, so go for gold!
Open Mon-Thurs 4pm-late, Fri-Sat 1pm-1am, Sun 1pm-11pm.
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