Secret bars are nothing new, with speakeasies having been around since the prohibition era. The mystique of what lies behind the door, however, is still one of the things that continues to bring surprises, particularly when it comes to Melbourne’s dynamic dining scene. With that in mind, I wanted to share a few of my favourite hidden bars in Melbourne. All three are unique in their own ways however where bars can often be a rowdy, noisy affair, I find that (in addition to the fact that they are somewhat hidden) these all carry a certain level of intimacy. Enjoy!
FALL FROM GRACE (enter via State of Grace)
I wanted to start of by one particular bar that features quite an impressive entrance, Fall from Grace. (Harry Potter fans – you will love this place)
The entrance to the bar is masked by a filled bookcase, which you will find by heading to the bathroom at State of Grace. Opening the bookcase lies in picking out the correct book from the bookcase itself and upon finding the right one, it would instantly open up to a beautiful, cellar bar that you descend to via an ornate marble staircase.
Opulent furnishings and high ceilings of grand proportions gives the bar itself a captivating, old world charm. There is a fabulous selection of wines and whiskeys here. As for the cocktails, these are inspired by historical events or literature, with the menu appropriately printed on the insides of a fiction book. I have tried quite a few of the cocktails here and if I had to choose, they would be the Mr Darcy (Hendricks Gin with Violette and Lychee), The Sky Was Pink and the Cuban Redemption.
477 Collins St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
EAU DE VIE
Located behind a wooden, innocuous door; from the moment you enter Eau De Vie you get the feeling that you have stepped into a different era. From the oak tables and elegant decor, to the jazz tunes and moody lighting, the vibe here is quintessentially classic New York and breeds a high degree of elegance and sophistication.
At Eau De Vie, the extensive whisky selection and cocktails are its main feature, paying homage to different periods in history. I personally love the ‘Exceptional Sour’, a sexy refresher inspired by “The Flowing Bowl” by William Schmidt which is comprised of apple brandy and peach cordial with a chocolate finish.
The food selection is also divine, including almost a dozen of cheeses to choose from and individual charcuterie plates starting from $6 (25g).
You will notice the bar is sectioned off in a few areas – to the immediate left is the main bar which leads to an additional large room to the far left. To the right, there’s individual tables and booths suitable for dinners and private dining rooms for more intimate gatherings.
1 Malthouse Lane
Melbourne, VIC 3000
JUNGLE BOY (enter via Boston Sub)
From the front, Boston Sub looks like a regular sandwich joint. It’s casual, unassuming and serves good food. Little do you realise that the freezer door located inside the shop front actually leads to a tiny, cosy bar fitting around 25 people or so. Its a one in one out policy so the bar is limited to a small capacity at any given time.
Compared to the bars in the part of town which are generally a lot noisier and cramped, Jungle Boy is intimate, casual and a great place for a more low-key catchup. Whilst the cocktail list is just a one pager they serve some impressive tiki cocktails here – you just have to order one for yourself! You do get the sense of having been transported to a bar on a remote, tropical island.
The Boston Sub menu is also available for ordering at the bar, including the poutine. The subs might be a bit clumsy to eat alongside the cocktails however on this occasion, it’s definitely worth the hassle. I highly recommend the pulled pork sub, which is served in a soft, white bread roll with crackling and apple sauce.
96 Chapel Street
Windsor VIC 3181