Melbourne is all about the tiny little treasures tucked away in its hidden laneways.
Located next to the Town Hall and behind Little Collins Street, Cabinet Bar & Balcony follows this tried and tested laneway sensibilities.
I would’ve never noticed Cabinet or found it if it weren’t for a friend of mine who knows all the little secret spots in town we are all after. I know to whatever bar or restaurant he takes his friends, you’ll be amazed and impressed by the wine and food menu. Cabinet bar was no exception.
Cabinet Bar could not be a more aptly name. On entry, nothing could quite mirror the sensation as closely as walking directly into a rich old woman’s cabinet. The staircase, fitted with old family photos, leads to the tiny space that, on a busy night, can become just a wee bit crowded.
The ambience is candlelit and cosy, with a real old world charm featuring patterned wallpaper and dark wood furniture but it’s the balcony that truly makes this place. It’s relaxed yet quite active, with the hustle-bustle of Swanston Street in full exhibition – only a stone’s throw away.
When I came here the first time I’ve noticed a couple on the table next to me drinking a cocktail in a jar. The jar was full of fruits and it just looked delicious. I was hooked and my friend explained to me that some of the cocktails are named after some of Cabinet’s locals. How freaking sweet is that! I meet friends for after work drinks at Cabinet bar fairly regularly but I guess I need to come more often to have a cocktail named after me as well – but that’s another story.
Huge blackboard menus direct you to the wine and cocktail list and the seasonal selection of snacks, cheese, flatbreads and share-style plates. The staff is lovely and amazing – always keeping a close eye that you are right for drinks and snacks.
So do yourself a favor and make your way past the trash bins, climb up the few stairs and enjoy the atmosphere there (and tell them it’s my biggest birthday wish to have a cocktail named after me, hahaha).
Mon-Fri: 12 pm – late
Sat-Sun: 2 pm – late