Melbourne’s laneway bars are typically hard to find, but thanks to sensible, clear signage, it’s not difficult to find yourself at the foot of The Deanery’s large industrial doorway. Once inside, the venue has a cavernous feel, partly owing to its history as a retired car park, with a stripped-back design that is simple but elegant.
Dark timber surfaces are complimented by cream tones, straight lines and marble finishes. The dimly lit interior gives a moody atmosphere, which is sexy rather than melancholy and is in keeping with the bar’s modern feel. While this style of décor can run the risk of appearing intimidating or clinical, The Deanery manages to get it right; the split level restaurant and bar comes across as unpretentious, welcoming and surprisingly comfortable.
As a visitor, expect to be greeted by friendly, attentive staff and a confident menu that features beautifully presented dishes such as duck pie with caramelised onion, or quail with coconut and tamarind chutney. The bar attracts a fairly conservative crowd and seems popular for after-work drinks, but casts a relaxed, sophisticated contrast against the frenzy and noise of nearby Flinders Street.