Melbourne is a sneaky city. There are a plethora of bars, restaurants, pop up stores and hidden secrets behind unmarked doors, down unsuspecting stairways and concealed within graffiti-clad, ‘street art’ painted laneways.
Last weekend I was on a personal mission to get out and about. After spending more weekends away from this city then in it, the bars of Melbourne were calling.
A Friday night in the city is great for after work drinks while suit-donning professionals let off steam after a long workweek. Making our way across Bourke Street, Wes and I found ourselves staring at an obvious office building. Despite the address saying this is where our sought after destination resided, it was only until I noticed the sign within the stairwell pointing us up three flights of stairs that we arrived at Madame Brussels.
Self described “a rather fancy terrace and public house,” this cute rooftop bar specializes in cocktails and punches and overlooks the eastern side of the city. The inside parlor resembles your grandmothers back garden, with faux grass carpet and flower patterned seat cushions. Although the menu and branding is over-the-top cheesy pink, and the limited food menu wasn’t too impressive, this is the perfect place for a girl’s soiree to sip cocktails and gossip out on the all white balcony in the summer months.
A colleague recommended our next destination – down a laneway in Chinatown, the door more or less unmarked aside from the small coat of arms of Berlin (bear) sign above the black paint. Up one-flight of steps takes you to a door and a glowing green doorbell. After being greeted by a hostess you will either get seated in posh West Berlin, with leather couches and chandeliers hanging from the ceiling or sinister East Berlin, neon lights and all. Being our first visit to Berlin Bar, we opted for the bar stools over the bunk beds in East Berlin and chose our respective beverages from the list of German imports.
On Saturday afternoon the outdoors were calling so I headed back into the city to meet a friend at the James Squire Brewhouse. I was excited to order a paddle and try five different brews but easily became disappointed as the service was slow and menu options overpriced. After a few pints of their One Fifty Lashes Pale Ale it was time to move on.
As we were craving another pub vibe it was off to the Sherlock Holmes Inn down unsuspecting Collins Street. Dark and rustic with exposed wood beams and Holmes paraphernalia, the atmosphere was a cozy alternative as the sun went down. Best yet, they had on tap all classic British beers that I haven’t tasted in years such as Kilkenny, Hob Goblin and Old Speckled Hen.
On with the bar hopping theme it was time to try something different, Robot Sushi. Hidden down a laneway this Japanese bar is a nerd’s paradise. Specializing in Japanese beers and sake, with authentic Japanese bartenders and all, the small bar is decorated with Godzilla posters, fun robot paintings and classic video games. Tuesday nights they even do free anime screenings.
Sticking with my new tradition of brunch and a walk through a new neighborhood on Sundays, I ventured on foot through the shopping haven of Chapel Street in South Yarra, onwards window-shopping through Prahran and Windsor, and finally ended up along the Esplanade of St. Kilda.
Although the beaches of St. Kilda aren’t the best, it’s still reassuring to know that they’re just a tram ride away. Sipping wine over looking the beach and listening to live music at Republica, it really got me pumped for the summer months approaching and all outdoor areas all over this town.
Its no wonder that Melbourne was just voted the number one city to live in the world for the third year in a row!