It's no secret that Melbourne does bars damn well. We've had a wave of award-winning, high end cocktail bars and wine bars flogging fancy natural wines, but this new Melbourne laneway bar takes things down a gear with a more grungy vibe. Whitehart is a two-storey bar made of shipping containers that's built on a converted car park at the end of Whitehart Lane just off Little Bourke Street. It's made to withstand whatever Melbourne's weather throws at punters: there are heaters and shelter for winter, and outdoor seating for when the weather's kinder. Food comes by way of visiting food trucks.
Husband and wife owners Stephen Johnson and Sabrina Santucci have been working with local artists to decorate the containers' exterior walls with graffiti murals and wall projections to add colour to the laneway space. “We had been parking in the old car park located at the end of Whitehart Lane for several years and had often thought the car park was an awesome space that was under-utilised; an opportunity waiting to happen,” Johnson says.