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Posts Tagged ‘Bars’

Q-Q-ca-choo

G’day, G’day does occasionally dip its toe into the world of food / bar / cafe bloggery, although most of the time it forgets.

Maybe one day it’ll catch up and be filled with a torrent of them (Gigi Baba’s – small, but exquisitely tasty portions, staff – hmmm; Woodspoon – what was all the fuss about, exactly?; Peko Peko – a much better Japanese bet; N&J’s Thai Cafe – your best when your budget’s tight and you can’t be arsed to cook; Grumpy’s Green – great local craft beer, lovely, lovely staff, superb little beer garden, dangerous coffee vodka; and so on…)

In the meantime, Bruce and Fran have been finding themselves at Provenance more than anywhere else in recent weeks, whether for coffee and pistachio-topped croissant, spot of brekkie or a tasting platter (mmm… diggin’ that cured trout, haloumi and black pudding) and glass of wine.

provenance-collingwood-platter

They’ll be attending Saturday night’s Quince this, Quail that tasting event (and are rather excited about it), which will no doubt be worthy of reporting back. In the meantime, here’s what a doppelganger has to say about it…

Quince this, Quail that @ Provenance

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Simple, but effective

Where were you when we needed you?

“Why on earth would you hide a bar?” asked a fellow emigre when informed of our plans for the weekend, clearly prioritising simple business principles over the rather more complex principles of being cool.

It might seem a reasonable question, although no doubt Melbourne’s with-it crowd would see it differently.

“Where did you say your friend had moved to? Dunedin? Hmmm… says it all really. He couldn’t possibly understand what it’s like to live in the heart of a happening metropolis.”

Nevertheless, undaunted by our friend’s backwater Kiwi skepticism, we set out to check out some of the CBD’s fabled back alley, underground and rooftop bars. After an hour’s research online, we’d come up with a list of old and new, above and below ground, fancy and grungy, all with addresses and, where necessary, notes on which alley to head down first. There was the Croft Institute, the Supper Club, Madame Brussels and more.

At 8.45pm, we hopped off the 96 tram in Bourke Street.

“Have you got the list?” asked Fran.

“Er, no,” said Bruce. “Haven’t you?”

“No, you wrote it. I thought you picked it up from the table,” said Fran.

“You were the last out,” said Bruce.

“You’re an idiot,” said Fran, not entirely unreasonably.

Somehow, fifteen minutes later we stumbled across Section 8 where we could marvel at the brightly coloured plastic cups jammed into the wire fence, soil our trousers on the piled-high pallets, bop along gently to some choice indie-dance tunes, remark on how the addition of scaffolded roof, transporter crate and chinese lanterns to a city centre car park gave the impression of being anywhere but in a city centre car park, and be served by a young woman whose approach to hospitality suggested she based her image a little too heavily on the opening lines of Radiohead’s Kid A.

The skyline at night

A subsequent mindless meander led to another planned destination: the Rooftop bar seven floors above Swanston Street. The seven storeys proved a good workout for the quads (a little too good, it seemed, for the chuntering skinhead following behind us). And the reward at the end of the epic climb? A 15-minute scrum at the bar to get served. OK, there were summer-style deckchairs and tables scattered on astroturf, a good selection of cocktails, organic beers, and splendid 360° views of the city too, which, if nothing else, brought home just how impressive the remaining older brick built buildings are in comparison to the faceless slabs of glass and metal towering over them…

There, our success at finding bars on our lamented list ended, although in their place were some rewards, from the interesting (The Loop Bar with its selection of short films) to the unexpected. Heading back to the 96 on Spencer Street, Fran stopped suddenly.

“Hey, that place sounds like the Talk of the Town where my mum and dad used to go when they were younger,” she said.

Beware first impressions

At the Top of the Town had some pictures in its vestibule: a pool table, wood-panelled walls, what appeared to be a giant white table. It looked the kind of classy joint to end the night with a single malt and a cigar. Bruce headed inside.

“Hang on a second,” said Fran. “I don’t think that’s a giant table. I think it’s a giant spa bath.”

At that moment, Bruce’s eyes alighted on the notice advertising the club’s adherence to Victoria’s Prostitution Control Act. He withdrew his hand from the door handle and moved outside.

“Let’s catch the tram, shall we?” he said.

“Yes,” said Fran. “We get quite enough of that where we live.”

So, if whorehouses, unexpected adventure and the possibility of staying sober through a five hour drinking session (because of the time spent walking) are your thing, then head for Melbourne’s hidden bars like we did.

If not, take a map.

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