7 BEST HIDDEN BARS IN MELBOURNE

October 28, 2015

7 BEST HIDDEN BARS IN MELBOURNE


Comes to no surprise if you're yet to hear of these underground bars, but the secrets out. Take a tip from our list and explore a few of our sweet spots in Melbourne.


1. SISTER BELLA
22 Drewery Place (Enter via Sniders Lane).



Don't try looking for any outdoor signage, there is none. Walk down one alleyway covered in street art and turn down a smaller alleyway, also covered in street art and you’ll find a tiny door behind some bins. Keep an eye out for the “What goes up must come down” wall at the end. Sister Bella features a range of cocktails, weeknight specials, and delicious cheap pizza to boot.


2. HIHOU
Level 1, 1 Flinders Lane.



Hidden places don’t come more hidden than this. You have to ring a doorbell on an unmarked door to get inside Hihou, Japanese for “secret treasure”. It has a sleek Japanese décor, with low lighting and low seating. It’s got all the usual drinks, but if you’re looking for something particularly Japanese you can choose between variations of sake, umeshu and Japanese whisky. Sitting by the floor-to-ceiling windows on the far side of the bar gives you beautiful night time views of Treasury Gardens.


3. 1806
169 Exhibition Street.



Named for the year the word “cocktail” first made it into the dictionary, the bar has an extensive menu with cocktails for every decade since then, plus the staff’s own inventions. It’s draped in red curtains with chandeliers hanging everywhere and you can sip from your cocktail from the comfort of velvet chair like some kind of royal. Underneath this bar is its little cousin, The Understudy, a private room serving deconstructed cocktails.


4. THE ALCHEMIST
361 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.


 


The Alchemist's charming baroque couches and satin draperies are hidden beyond a just-visible sign on Brunswick Street. Blink and you’ll miss it. But it’s a great place to go if you’re feeling like something different, or want to step back in time. Real apothecary items from centuries ago accessorise the place. And the “Periodic Table” on display is a delightfully easy way to pick something when you’re spoilt for choice. The bartenders are adventurous too: ask them to make one of your own inventions and they’ll give it a go.


4. SAHARA
Level 1, 301 Swanston Street.



If you’ve walked down Swanston Street regularly, you may have seen the sign for Sahara from the other side of the road. But, chances are you haven’t seen the entrance. It’s a tiny staircase in between a bunch of lunch places. Three levels up is the apex – a beautiful rooftop with a bar and seating covered in coloured cushions for a Moroccan feel. Food and drinks are decently priced with specials every night and a super-long happy hour on Thursdays. This is also one of the few places in Melbourne where you can order shisha in a range of flavours – even bubblegum!


6. BARTONICA
Basement, 335 Flinders Lane.



If you’re a fan of ‘80s throwbacks, then you’ll love Bartronica. Firstly, it’s an arcade. It’s got old school games like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter, plus all your nostalgic childhood consoles like Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64. Just remember to bring some change if you want to play. The sound is folk rock feat. the “dingdingding” of gaming machines. The drinks are named after ‘80s films, like Risky Business and Fatal Attraction. But there’s plenty of cider and beer on tap if you’re not in the mood for a cocktail. And the ice is shaped like Tetris. Tetris! If all that is not enough to drag you in, there’s also a little beer garden out back.


7. PAWN & CO
Level 1, 402 Chapel Street, South Yarra.



They say buying things when you’ve been drinking is not a good idea. To that, Pawn & Co say “pfft!” This establishment is a pawn shop with a bar in it. You can sell your stuff and buy other people’s – anything from furniture to taxidermy animals. And you can do it all while sipping on “Cocktail Pawn” such as the Death in the Afternoon (champagne and absinthe). You can spot its balcony from Chapel Street below, but you might have to dig a little to find the entrance. It’s a fun time, although you’ll want to keep an eye on your funds – unless you’re willing to splurge on vintage allsorts.


 

 AWOL






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