Food and Drink


Melbourne’s 3 Most Underground Bars

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The eclectic bars of Melbourne have proven that serving alcohol is no longer a big enough draw card to populate a bar, as Melbournites now want their drinks with a side of pizazz. A buzzing atmosphere is what draws in the bar flies, so here are some of the best undiscovered places in Melbourne where atmosphere is just as important as wetting your whistle.

The Rum Diary
Lurking in the shadows is one of Brunswick’s most precious buried treasures. As dark, dingy and full of character as the pirates that sipped rum on the high seas, The Rum Diary is a place where secret plans can be hatched over tables lit with the glow of a single candle. If the atmosphere alone doesn’t take you back to an old sea chanty town, then the lone man sitting at the bar swirling his rum in a bulb glass certainly will. Purists can sip one of the 170 rums straight and untainted, whilst the fainthearted can sip theirs disguised as a cocktail. The cocktail list features recipes from yesteryear with a Rum Diary twist, such as the Hibiscus Knickerbocker which blends hibiscus syrup with the usual suspects of Angostura Rum, orange bitters and fresh lime. There are also original concoctions such as the Dark ‘N’ Stormy which mixes Goslings Black Seal Rum with house made coriander and chilli ginger beer. The Rum Runners are also willing to whip up any old favourite recipe for those not tempted by the bar’s favourite poison.

334 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

The 1920s called, they want their bar back. The red velvet curtain draped from ceiling to floor behind the bar, the shimmering chandeliers, studded leather couches, and top hats, 1806 is a bar that Gatsby would be honoured to grace with his presence. Behind all the glitz and glamour is a cocktail menu that shines brighter than the sequins. Taking out the prize for the World’s Best Cocktail Menu in 2008, the never-ending list is a ‘This is Your Life’ for cocktails as the greatest concoctions from the 1650s onwards are revived by the bar’s mix masters. It is the most interesting history class you’ll ever take, as you can jump into the 1800s with a sip of the Tom and Jerry, a mixture of Appleton VX, Hennessy VS, winter spice elixir, castor sugar, eggs and hot water, or relive the 1900s through the Jack Rose, a blend of Applejack, lime and house grenadine. For those too scarred by high school history to jump back in time, contemporary classics such as the Cosmopolitan and Penicillin keep you firmly in the here and now.

169 Exhibition Street, Melbourne

Valley Cellar Door
Like moths to a flame, the warm glow that seeps out from Valley Cellar Door onto darkened Hall Street in Moonee Ponds just seems to draw people in. It can be difficult to nab a stool at one of the chunky wooden tables, but the hum of chatter suggests that people are just as happy to stand and rub shoulders with other people keen for a chat over a tipple. Spirits are put on the back-burner as boutique wines are made the star of the show, and questions will be fired to find one from their never-ending shelves to suit your taste. Available by the glass or in bottles to drink in-house or take-away, the ever-changing wine list maintains a local focus with a few cheeky international favourites thrown in. In one sitting, you could try real champagne from Champagne, a riesling from Eden Vale and pinot noir from the Gippsland. Non-wine drinkers are also welcomed into the fray, as over a hundred craft beers and a wide range of ciders are on offer for anyone who walks towards the light.

18 Hall Street, Moonee Ponds


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