Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Weekend in Melbourne - A Few Bar Finds - Part I

Never the one to jump on the Melbourne vs. Sydney debate bandwagon - the BF and I love both cities and taking that 1 hour plane ride south for a change of scenery. Whether the trip is to see friends who have migrated; visit some new places; or in our case - hit some bars, its a very convenient weekend getaway. Domestic flights between cities are always on the cheap and they are always advertising regular deals with hotels - its just too easy! The Melbourne Bar Scene was a refreshing change for us. New places, faces and of course - new cocktails.

After our late dinner at Movida, we decided that the night was still young and we do what we do best - bar hunt. Enter Gin Palace - a cosy bar on Russell Street. Dimly lit and a little bit sexy - the decor was very baroque with lots of velvet and leopard print. Think that sounds a bit tacky? Not at all! Everything was mis-matched but it added to that faux luxe charm. Besides, how can I resist a place with my initials embossed on the menu in gold? I ordered an espresso martini, because after a long day I needed the quick kick in my system. It was bitter and not too cold, just how I like it. I've tried this cocktail before but most of the time it ends up tasting like a gloria jeans chiller with all its sweet cream and crushed ice. On the other hand, the Gin Palace version was elegantly made and provided the midnight wake up call I was after. Demos ordered a tan ten with grapefruit and soda - a crisp gin drink which would have been ideal after a rich meal. I may have stolen a chunk of his grapefruit when he wasn't looking.

Our next stop was a little basement bar called sweatshop. Located below the popular cantonese restaurant "Seamstress", Sweatshop describes itself as "The the mischievous little brother searching through the undies drawers of its big sister Seamstress.Sweatshop is all about absolute quality delivered with style, a dash of fun and plenty of jest.We hope you’ve got your passport...‘cause you’re going to flavour country!!"

And flavour country it was! The cocktails were expertly mixed and shaken right before us by an awesome bartender - he clearly knew his stuff. After working 14 hours straight behind the bar, our new friend provided awesome cocktail suggestions. I had the Millionaire, which is a mix of Jamaican Rum,  lime juice, apricot liqueur and sloe gin. How it made me miss summer! Demos tried the El Diablo. After a warning that the ginger really burns you up - he still enjoyed the drink with  Tequila, lime, cassis and our house blended ginger beer. And when they say Ginger, they mean GINGER. And lots of it!

We had such a great time at  Sweatshop. The crowd was fun, friendly and unpretentious. It was one of those effortlessly cool places. Sticking with the same theme as Seamstress, they cleverly decorated the space with rolls of fabric stored in the ceiling and spools of colourful thread. The music was awesome, with the dj playing a mashup mix of Wu tang Clan and the Beetles. A shame we missed out on the Bar Snacks though - they had a Sing Tao Battered Chicken with sesame seeds and sweatshop signature chilli dip orCrunchy Pigs Ears coated in five spice salt. Damn!

So, this is part one of our Melbourne bar tour with the rest to follow - so come again soon. We might put up some Sydney posts in between though, just so our beloved city doesn't feel too left out! Hope you don't mind that our posts are mixed up - we haven't even written about our Singapore trip yet! All in good time - but we sure hope you are enjoying our blog. Thank you to those who are leaving comments and emailing. Thanks for being out there! In the meantime, here are a few before and after shots of our night out:

Demos, Gianna & Domo stayed at the Pensione Boutique Hotel. It was great value with free brekky and a modern room in a stylish hotel. Would have loved to have stayed at Crown Metropol but whats that quote again about Champagne tastes and beer budgets?

Gin Palace
10 Russell Pl, Melbourne Victoria 3000‎ -(03) 9654 0533
Gin Palace on Urbanspoon

Sweatshop Bar
Basement, 113b Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC 3000‎ - (03) 9662 928
SweatShop on Urbanspoon


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Nice tour! If you do get the chance to stay at the Crown Metropol it's great there :)

the dainty baker said...

I love the sweatshop!! awesome place, awesome cocktails!

Betty @ The Hungry Girl said...

Ooh, I remember going to the Sweatshop when I was in Melbourne last year! Such a funky place! I love their products in their bathroom too :D

the ninja said...

domo arigatooooo mr imbiboooo *glug glug*

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