Time Out says
Keen to find this hidden bar? You’ve got to find the wall of clocks first
Flinders Lane hotel W Melbourne is one of the coolest hotels in our sweet city, not only because it has a whopping 294 rooms, a premium restaurant and a sexy top-floor pool – but it’s also home to a secret bar.
Curious is located on Market Street, just a hop up from the sparkling W insignia near the hotel’s lobby. Walk too fast up towards Collins Street and you might miss the entrance – it’s a glass door in front of a wall adorned with numerous clocks. The clocks are a ruse, however. You’re actually sidestepping them and heading down the spiral staircase towards a dimly lit underground haunt.
Downstairs, the bar is all overhead timber beams and a muted colour palette. If you’re perceptive, you’ll recognise the nods to Alice in Wonderland – tiny rabbits are placed around the venue, the aforementioned clocks, the name “Curious”. It’s subtle, which is good because Melbourne’s already got a more overt wonderland-themed bar.
Steal a seat at the bar to watch some of the hardest-working cocktail shakers in the business. We say that because Curious’ cocktail list is more of a booklet than a list. It’s divided into a couple of sections, inspired by Melbourne’s cultural pillars: coffee, fashion and art. Try the rich and silky Degraves from the coffee menu, which includes Martell VS cognac, cascara-flavoured Mancino Rosso vermouth, banana, Pedro Ximenez and orange blossom. Or opt for the Stilleto from the fashion menu which has Wolf Lane Davidson plum Plymouth gin, blood orange sorbet, sparkling wine and spritzed with “makeup aroma”.
Each of the pillars has a non-alcoholic cocktail as well, and there’s a small menu of cold snacks like beef tartare, guacamole with polenta crisps and Appellation oysters served natural with lemon. There’s also your choice of charcuterie items and cheese, plus pork katsu sandos and beef tacos.