In Melbourne, it’s rare for people to go to bars to read a newspaper, or just sit and think. Nighthawks is different. It’s the sort of place where regulars might take half an hour to finish their first and only beer.

It’s the first bar from hospitality veterans Leah Henry and Marcus Davies, who were inspired by what they saw in America and Japan. In the former case, the couple fell in love with decaying old dive bars in Brooklyn, Chicago and San Fran, where almost nothing has changed since they were built in the ‘30s and ’40s and people happily drink alone. In the latter, they admired the tiny, nameless bars where regulars come specifically to see the owner.

Nighthawks brings these two halves together in a clean, Art Deco-lite fit-out Davies spent nearly 18 months planning and building, with no help from designers or architects.

There’s a small beer garden which shares a fence with Bluebird Espresso next door, a few cosy booths inside, and a long, wide and beautiful timber bar. Davies is a tune guru and keeps the place throbbing with great rock music.

Take a seat and chat to Henry and Davies. Or don’t – they don’t mind either way.

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Updated: September 28th, 2016

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