At the turn of the 20th century, the Southgate precinct (between Southbank and the Arts Centre) was an outdoor amusement park for sociable Melburnians. There was a circus, an ice-skating rink and even a waterslide.
A hundred years on, a modern cocktail bar honours the giant water chute that once occupied the space.
Waterslide serves Kirin on tap, local and international wines, hard-to-find whiskies (such as a Rosebank 21 and Talisker 25) and original cocktails created by bartender Fred Siggins from Fitzroy’s Black Pearl.
He specialises in bright cocktails with interesting combinations and fresh fruits and herbs. The Glacerium is a combination of champagne – real stuff, not domestic sparkling – umeshu (Japanese liqueur), elderflower, blood-orange syrup and lemon verbena. A small bar-snack menu features fish carpaccio and Cuban sandwiches.
The venue, designed by Melbourne-based Techne Architecture (Jimmy Grants and Fonda) features swinging couches and a horseshoe-shaped bar in the centre of the space. It has elements of 1950s Vegas, 1970s cruise ship and 1920s prohibition.
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