Archive for the ‘Bar’ Category

The Standard Hotel

What I love most about Melbourne is finding little gems off the beaten track. The Standard Hotel is one of these little gems. I knew I’d found a goodie when I first walked in the door. The country decor is full of cozy nooks for hiding from cold winters.

But keep walking. The beer garden is where The Standard really shines. Then keep walking. And walking. The leafy garden stretches for ages and somehow, like inside the pub, its full of nooks too. On a sunny day it’s the perfect place to catch up with friends at a long picnic table.

The food is quality, my only complaint being that it don’t offer chips or wedges, which are an absolute must for any worthwhile pub!


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This weekend I ended up at Cookie on Swanston Street twice, on two consecutive nights. I’d been before, for coffee in the afternoon, had dinner there on Thursday night, and drinks on Friday night. I now feel like I’m sufficiently equipped to review the place from every angle possible.

My two beverage experiences were fantastic. I had a great coffee with great atmosphere on a Saturday afternoon, and last Friday night the bartender took at least 20 minutes making my mojito and it was worth every minute.

However, my dinner experience left something to be desired. Our waiter returned to the table to tell me my choice of wine had run out, and then again to tell me my choice of meal was unavailable. The wine I did get was fine, and the meal was decent, but nothing amazing. I would have been happier if I hadn’t gotten my hopes up for two choices that turned out to be unavailable.

My friend ordered the sparkling red, and though there is only one sparkling red option on the menu, that had run out as well and she was forced to have white wine.

My feeling is that if it’s on the menu, it should be available to order.

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Electric Ladyland

I have to admit that I rarely venture to Chapel Street for nightlife. This may be a generalisation, but I’ve found that usually it means standing in queues and running the risk of having most of my male friends left standing outside the door, knocked back by the bouncer.

This is entirely the case at Electric Ladyland. But the place is so cool that I’m willing to set it all aside. The bar is one large room with small groups of red leather couches clustered along the walls, and a large bar in the middle, with plenty of bar staff.

The music is great, not too loud for good conversation, and the atmosphere feels cool and sophisticated without being stuffy. Go early on weekends and you’ll walk straight in, snag a couch spot, and be set up for the rest of the night.

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The Gertrude Hotel

Now that temperatures in Melbourne are dropping, I’ve been on the lookout for a great little cosy pub for the winter. Somewhere to meet friends spontaneously for drinks, grab a warm meal, or go for a lazy weekend breakfast. Finally, I’ve found one.

The Gertrude Hotel is a great, classic, simple pub with street-side tables out front and warm leather couches by the fireplace inside. It’s down to earth, friendly, and a great neighbourhood retreat.

I’m sure that on chilly nights and weekends I’ll be popping in for a Pipsqueak cider or warm breakfast. Most nights during the week they also serve up featured $10 mains.

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Sentido Funf

Like so many places in Melbourne, Sentido Funf looks extremely unimpressive from the outside on Gertrude Street near the corner with Smith Street. I’ve walked past the bar at least five times and hardly even noticed it. In fact, it almost looks like an office, with two windows covered by venetian blinds hiding what’s happening inside.

But what’s inside is quite remarkable. The small, crowded entrance leads to a narrow corridor and you feel like you’ve probably seen all there is to see and are about to reach the toilets, when you realise there is something at the end of the corridor.

The whole place opens up to a large room with glass windows, lanterns hanging from the ceiling and a large tree holding up the roof in one corner. This leads to a green, leafy outdoor area covered in vines and with picnic tables and a few large squashy chairs and fairy lights.

The bar keeps unfolding as you keep going, getting better and better. I went with a large group of friends, and would classify Sentido Funf as a people pleaser. Everyone likes a bar like this one, with well-known hits on the stereo and a laid back atmosphere.

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Little Peninsula

Last night I visited a great little bar in the city called Little Peninsula on Little Lonsdale between Queen and Elizabeth.

It’s great for a Friday night because the place is a crowded and lively and, unlike many city bars, doesn’t suffer from too many suits standing around with their laptop bags looking like they’re preparing for a 2am business proposal.

It’s a small place, with enough space for standing or sitting, and they mix up some fantastic drinks. I had the bet mojito I’ve had since travelling in South America and a great concoction called a Berrini with a layer of sparkling wine over a layer of crushed berries and vodka served in a champers glass.

The staff is friendly, the music is great (there’s an in-house DJ spinning behind the bar) and the atmosphere is perfectly chill without being sleepy. There are a lot of great places for a drink on a Friday night, but this one is perfect if you’re meeting up with a few friends and want somewhere intimate but upbeat for good conversation.

And hey, being scrunched into a little bar makes for some good conversations between strangers too. Many a romance has started with “Uh you’re standing on my foot.”

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The Black Cat

In every city, I need a retreat. A local. A small cozy place I can feel at home in. A place where the baristas know what I mean when I say ‘the usual, thanks.”

I believe I have found mine. The Black Cat is a great little coffee shop which transforms into a bar at night, but somehow retains the same chilled out vibe through this day to night transition.

Awesome music, a green patch with vines growing around picnic tables for drinking at, a very chill atmosphere, and communal couch spaces. Plus some out-of-towners, like the French girl that asked me if the seat next to me was “busy.” (eg. Is this seat taken?)

Did I mention free wireless? I think you all know where to find me.

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