Alleys, Alcoves and Alcohol


Through the kind invitation of Tim Richards (who incidentally has a nice travel blog here called Aerohaveno), I had the privilege of visiting two of Melbourne's famous street pubs and bars, located off the side streets from the junction of busy Elizabeth Street and Little Bourke Street. According to Tim, there are some 200 to 300 of these pubs and clubs located throughout the city. Like Singapore's Boat Quay and Clarke Quay watering holes, many occupied previously disused warehouses, government buildings, and offices, and gave these cobbled recesses a new lease of life as F&B outlets.

Many of these bars are pretty modest outfits. The one I visited only had one or two staff manning the bar counter. However, they apparently have a fiercely loyal clientele, and I understand that the crowd usually moves in on Fridays and Saturdays. While these places weren't overflowing to the gills during my bar hopping on a Wednesday night, there were a couple of customers.

Its great to see these entrepreneurial endeavours helping to bring some life to the city at night - a rare thing in Australia as most cities are pretty quiet and desolate once the Sun sets.   

The first pub I visited had a nice ambience and decor which included elements of an antiquated cable and trolley system.  It was pretty cosy and could probably only sit about 20 or so max.

My second bar visit was decked with oriental finishes like these red lanterns, an old bicycle, and 40s and 50s style Shanghai-inspired posters.

A view of the oriental pub, which I understand was once an award-winning outfit.  

You can read more about Melbourne's hidden secrets in this great post by Tim here.

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