The bar in a warehouse on Easey Street wins by being all things to all people
If you’re a true Melbournian, you’ve got the bar you go to play pool at, the bar with a solid wine list, the bar that can mix you a good drink, and the bar you go to just to smash a decent beer. Paradise Alley is all these things and more, which is why it takes out Best New Bar for 2018.
You’ll see owner Laura Twomey (ex City Wine Shop) in every service – lively, engaging and managing the crowd expertly. Since the place became a popular hangout for the whole of Fitzroy and Collingwood, she’s expanded her crew, but they’re way more than a supporting cast, having eagle eyes for those who need service and backing it up with the know-how.
The wine list is intelligent and balanced, with nothing over $15 by the glass and heavy leaning on the trendier labels, giving her guests exactly what they want without compromising on standards: the ever-funky Bobar, or a field blend blanc from Tassie’s quiet high-achiever Simla, next to the coveted low stocks of Adelaide Hills’ the Other Right. These sit proudly next to a large collection of aperitifs, sherries and ports that are forcing Gen Y to change the way they drink. Paradise Alley may want you to get festive, but you’re going to do it in style, dammit! You won’t be at a loss if you’re not into small-batch wines, craft beers or oxidative tipples: you can easily order a Peroni, a Melbourne Bitter longneck or a Young Henrys cider and still hang with the cool kids.
Cocktails are not the focus of Paradise Alley, but they still give them a damn good go. The Death Touch is an example of a house concoction that is easy to whip up in the push of service: heavy in tequila and mezcal, the smoky agave flavours are shaken with fresh strawberries, balanced with the tartness of lemon and tamarind and spiked with a touch of chilli – hinting at a range of flavours, but never tipping over the edge.
Paradise Alley instead gives you everything you want out of a bar without seeming overdesigned – an outside area, a smoking alley, a pool room, a collection of recycled furniture working harmoniously next to a grand, custom built wooden bar. Its natural charisma makes it so effortlessly cool, giving us the respite from Peak Melbourne we so desperately asked for.
|Venue name:||Paradise Alley|
25 Easey St
|Opening hours:||Wed-Fri 4pm-late; Sat, Sun noon-late|