Beneath Driver Lane
Driver Lane is a tiny alleyway off Little Bourke Street in the city. If you take a walk down there at night you’ll see a man and a velvet rope in front of a door. Descend the stairs and you’ll reach a giant glass door with a wrought-iron frame that opens automatically into a low-lit, cavernous space.
This is the ceremonious entrance to Beneath Driver Lane, located in the vault of the old Money Order Office, an appendage to the GPO building. The space mixes old with new; there are original brick archways, marble flourishes and a domed ceiling mingling with low-hanging pendants and partitions made of rope. Semi-private banquettes flank the space and the walls are adorned with dozens of black and white photos from eras past.
The extensive drinks menu is about cocktails and technical expertise. Martinis are made with liquid nitrogen, and a signature cocktail called Catalyst Fire is made using the smoke of palo santo wood.
For lovers of top-shelf wine and whisky there’s a private tasting cellar. There’s also a large wooden liquor cabinet if you want to store a bottle of spirits until next time – the bar stocks up to 160 whiskies and more than 70 rums.
The food menu includes oysters, charcuterie and cheese. And there’s a short-order selection of rich bar snacks such as a dish of smoked octopus, chorizo, black garlic aioli and pickled chilli. And burrata with pickled zucchini and watercress.