If you listen carefully while you’re walking down Heffernan Lane, you’ll hear brassy, Latin-jazz tunes, or maybe '90s hip hop. It may be tricky to find the party, but when you come to the moss-green door, there’s a little bar waiting for you on the other side.
Huw Griffiths and his business partner, Shane Whiteley, restored this vacant property, keeping features such as the original bricks and timber ceiling structure above the bar.
“There are so many awesome products in the world, so why not choose the ones that are attached to an awesome person?” says Griffiths.
This personal touch is really what Union Electric is all about. “You don’t go to a bar to buy a drink, you go for an experience,” says Griffiths. “We’ve designed a comfortable and intimate space where we can get to know you and tell you the stories behind each product and the people that make them.”
Fresh fruit is a key ingredient for many of the cocktails; the vivid green Kum Den Botanica (the title is a nod to the bar’s neighbour) is Griffith’s recommendation. It’s a vibrant concoction of West Winds Gin, elderflower, fresh apple, lime, cucumber and a sprinkle of micro herbs.
Pineapples and plums are placed in vinegar to form sweet shrub syrup, which can be enjoyed with or without alcohol. (Shrubs are vinegar-based fruit drinks mixed with spirits, water or carbonated water).
There’s no kitchen at Union Electric, but the friendly relationship it has with the New Kum Den next door means you can get a quick fix of dumplings and spring rolls without even leaving. Just order from the menu at the bar and they'll be delivered to your table.
13 Heffernan Lane, Melbourne