Hidden bars in Melbourne
House of Correction, the cocktail bar downstairs from the Goldilocks rooftop, reflects the effortless class and hospitality Melbourne has come to represent. The cocktails on offer are made by some of Melbourne's friendliest and most experienced bartenders. Allocated numbers not names, these concoctions show up quickly even on a packed night, served elegantly in frozen glassware and garnished simply with a long twist of lemon, a pineapple leaf or a wedge of pink grapefruit.
This leafy courtyard bar with chilled tropical vibes and tiki masks is hidden behind a fake fridge at the back of sandwich shop Boston Sub. Just go into the fridge and keep going.
In the basement at the end of an alley, Beneath Driver Lane feels equal parts Melbourne, Chicago and Diagon Alley. The folks behind the bar are all practised professionals; personable, knowledgeable and looking sharp in black chef coats. What they’re mixing up is pretty sharp, too.
Bartenders pull out all the stops – and the liquid nitrogen – at this city speakeasy offering a magical mystery tour of history’s greatest drinks. There is even a whole room dedicated to whisky.
Everybody knows about Black Pearl, but did you know that there's another cocktail bar upstairs? It's only open from Thursday to Sunday, and you'll need to buzz into the Attic to get in, but make the most of the wonderful table service if you manage to get in.
The bar is a command centre at the heart of this tiny room, with only a handful of seats facing Hayden Lambert as he dispenses drinks that put the art back into artisanal.
Keep your eyes open or you might miss Hihou's entrance on Flinders Lane, near the corner of Spring Street. The cocktails at this sultry sake den are given reverential treatment and are peppered with yuzu, umeshu (plum wine) and shochu (grain spirit), but come hungry and make a meal out of the excellent bar snacks list.
The city’s oldest pub has a secret. Loch and Key is hidden up a rickety staircase, behind a bookcase in the Captain Melville bar. Loch and Key is best known as a late-night reveller, when the couch-filled warren of rooms come to life, but its early evening appeal shouldn't be ignored, as the balcony is a beautiful spot to watch the sun go down.
Brought to you by the team responsible for city drinking holes Sister Bella, Ponyfish Island and 1000 Pound Bend, Footscray's Back Alley Sally's is bringing the crew's signature good time bar vibes to the west. They've picked a suitable laneway location in Footscray, and they're setting up above sister venue Slice Girls West, which is dishing out pizzas, burgers and toasties to hungry punters.
Look for the big shiny lightning bold pinpointed by light globes among Chinatown's dumpling signs, and you'll find this chilled out cocktail lounge.