Pawn & Co.
When developers forced Pawn & Co. out of its South Yarra home in March 2017 the owners bounced back in record time. The venue closed on a Sunday and reopened 36 hours later with a new location and look.
Everything inside – from the grand piano to the albino cyborg stuffed kangaroo – is for sale. And everything falls under what co-owner Josh Lefers calls “a futuristic steampunk” theme.
The bar has two levels. When you walk in you’re greeted with two options for ordering a drink. The first is the Carousel Bar, an automated carousel stocked with premium spirits that rotates above a human bartender. The second is a talking vending machine from which you can order a can of beer while making small talk with a drink-dispensing robot.
At the top of the stairs there’s a room of curios, from genuine vintage pistols and guitars, to a full-size, custom-built replica of a Star Wars-style block of carbonite.
Up here you can order from the “Organocktail”, a huge church organ that dispenses ice when you wind the hand-crank. Then the glass goes along a mini conveyor belt and your drink drops in.
The cocktail menu treads the line between nostalgic and inventive. The Gunpowder Iced Tea is a spin on the Long Island Iced Tea, with rum, chilli-infused peach tea and chocolate. Lefers is also part-owner of East 9th Brewing – which distributes Doss Blockos and Lick Pier, among others – so you can count on a range of craft beers, ciders and alcoholic ginger beers.