Melbourne is home to plenty of tiny laneway bars and hidden bars, but here, we're celebrating the watering holes that are more than a little left of centre. Some are fun and whacky and others are so high-concept that they're verging on immersive theatre. All of them provide drinking experiences that you won't find anywhere else.
Melbourne's weirdest drinking experiences
Want a drink? Want a drink that may or may not be served in a test tube, in a tiki mug or by a bartender straight out of Cold War-era Berlin? Right this way, adventure-seekers...
Weirdest drinking experiences
Polēpolē, Swahili for “take it easy”, is both name and motto for the new East-African inspired bar which has set up shop in the old Tony Starr’s Kitten Club. What was once a known as a sleazy watering hole, bandroom and home of the Love Lounge is now bringing the deep and sweet flavours that owners and husband-and-wife team Dean and Jeanelle Mariani encountered on their travels. Now, if you’ve never tried biltong, you need to get to Polēpolē. They make theirs in-house and it is the closest rendition of the traditional South African jerky available in Melbourne.
Palm Royale occupies the space most recently known as Bar Economico in Richmond, and feels like a blend of Cuba and Tom Cruise Tiki. Behind the bar, “Hawaiian shirt” is both the uniform and the attitude, and a mix of easy listening bossa nova beats, Cuban jazz and Latin dance music fills the airwaves. The cocktail list is heavy on the rum but also features a couple of ultra classic gin drinks for the punch-averse.All drinks come garnished to the sky with pineapple wedges, cherries and paper umbrellas.