Wash down French bistro fare with Dom Pérignon at Les Bubbles: the Valley restaurant and bathhouse that's très fun and a little bit naughty
This drinking house takes its cues from the building’s history as a bathhouse, brothel and Fitzgerald-era bootleg gambling den.
Start downstairs in the bathhouse, where bubbles come two ways: by the bottle, or in (and beside) the fully functional 15-seat spa bath. No togs? No worries. Opt instead for a stool by the bar and try a little Misconduct (blended rums, blue curaçao, maraschino liqueur, orgeat syrup and citrus served in a giant flaming tiki bowl); or checkout the mixologists’ prowess at whipping up shot mixers, themed cocktails and a fun list of libations. There’s plenty here to land you in hot water, from the ‘suds’ and ciders on tap to the specialist curated Reserve list (you need to ask) boasting a few rarities that are secreted behind lock and key.
If the whirlpool’s not your thing, leave the marine-tiled natatorium behind and head street-level. Portraits of questionable identities that may or may not have contributed to the venue’s colourful past oversee booths, banquettes and ‘respectable’ seating arrangements, and here, you’ll find steak and bottomless frites as good as on any Parisian Bistro menu, with a wine list to match. Carafes of house red (preservative free and unfiltered) and white are made by David Cush (ex Winemaking Tasmania), Les Bubbles’ own winemaker.
It gets crowded, but is less noisy than many other of Damien Griffiths’ whacky venues (in a good way); and sporadic service is compensated by cheery staff who maintain the Les Bubbles motto: The customer always comes first. (Boom-tish.)
Complimentary parking is available every evening in the Chinatown Wilsons. Get your ticket validated before you leave – the parking attendants no longer accept bribes.
|Venue name:||Les Bubbles|
144 Wickham St
|Opening hours:||Daily 5pm-late; Wed-Sat noon-3pm|