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The Douglas Club

  • Bars
  • Melbourne
  1. The seating and bar area at the Douglas Club.
    Photograph: Kristoffer Paulsen
  2. A colada cocktail from the Douglas Club.
    Photograph: Kristoffer Paulsen
  3. A Tom Douglas cocktail from the Douglas Club.
    Photograph: Kristoffer Paulsen
  4. A Cameron's Kick cocktail from the Douglas Club.
    Photograph: Kristoffer Paulsen
  5. The Douglas Club bar manager Gee Shanmugam sitting with a cocktail.
    Photograph: Kristoffer Paulsen
  6. The seating area inside of the Douglas Club.
    Photograph: Kristoffer Paulsen

Time Out says

Get classic cocktails made with a contemporary twist at this intimate, 1930s-themed bar in a boutique hotel

Those familiar with the history of 1930s Prohibition-era America may know that cocktails quickly became the drink of choice because bartenders were seeking ways to make strong, foul liquors more drinkable. You’d also know that these cocktails would be consumed in hidden and illegal bars known as speakeasies.

Thankfully, the quality of liquor has vastly improved since then and no one has to hide away to drink their cocktails, but there’s an allure about this era that remains to this day. If you’re looking to capture that feel, head to the Douglas Club, a cocktail bar nestled just within the ground floor entrance of the Hilton Little Queen Street hotel.

While it’s not exactly a speakeasy, the dim and intimate lighting and the availability of just a handful of tables makes you feel like you’ve stumbled upon a well-kept secret. Sink into one of the plush, dark blue banquettes or sit at one of the bar stools for front-row seats to all of the boozy action. 

Named after the Douglas DC-3 propeller airliner, one of the first profitable passenger airliners from the 1930s, the bar pays homage to the style of the era. The decor features Art Deco stylings like rich colours and clean, linear shapes as well as some modern touches like a screen built into the ceiling.  

Bar manager Gee Shanmugam is the brains behind the cocktail menu, which he describes as featuring mainly classic cocktails with a contemporary twist. The menu changes seasonally, but think tipples like a fortified and fruity take on the Sazerac cocktail that uses Calvados as the base spirit and a Penicillin that substitutes the Scotch whisky base for tequila and mezcal and gets an extra kick from the addition of cayenne pepper and turmeric. 

If you get a bit peckish, there is a wide selection of charcuterie and bar snacks on the menu. Think oysters served with gin and tonic granita, a free-range pork and pistachio terrine, lobster rolls and chef’s platters of cheese and cured meats.

After you’ve finished your drinks and snacks, you can head next door to sister restaurant Luci to try the contemporary Australian menu by chef Sam Moore.

Adena Maier
Written by
Adena Maier


Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street
472 Bourke Street
Opening hours:
Wed-Sat, 4pm-11pm
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