After 12 years in business, CBD bar Ferdydurke was one of many venues that called it quits this year when it closed in April.

But the Office of Public Works, a Melbourne group that operates Section 8, The Beast and ran Ferdydurke, has reactivated the space and opened cocktail and wine bar Aster.

The heritage building in the CBD’s Tattersalls Lane, between Lonsdale and Little Bourke Streets – at 2.07 metres, Melbourne’s narrowest street – has undergone a significant renovation.

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“We flipped the venue on its head,” venue manager Manny Platsis tells Broadsheet.

When you arrive at Aster, walk up a flight of stairs that opens up to a revamped loft. While the fireplace and glass brick window sills remain the same, the space otherwise looks and feels completely different. Warm lighting is paired with wooden finishes and whitewashed brick walls. There’s no longer a dance floor, but the bar staff won’t discourage you from having a boogie while DJs play until 2am on Friday and Saturday nights.

“What is the same is the address and our continuing love for music,” says Platsis.

The venue is now focused on cocktails. Signature cocktails include the Spicy Coco Marg, with coconut tequilina and a pineapple shrub and the [Japanese Skipper], inspired by the Melbourne-born Japanese Slipper, which is infused with pandan, local rum and Marionette orange curacao. There are also Australian and European wines by the glass, beers and spirits and non-alcs including Molly Rose’s strawberry and lime sour and Comet sodas.

Ferdydurke didn’t offer food for the last few years in business, but at Aster there are some classic snacks on offer. “The idea behind [the menu] is cheese, charcuterie and bar snacks that can work well with any sort of beverage … it's food you don't have to think about, simply have it in front of you and enjoy it,” Platsis explains.

The menu, designed by Public Works executive chef Jarrod Moore, includes fire-roasted peppers with smoked tomato and goat’s cheese, and a poached prawn roll with pickled celery and burnt butter aioli.

Aster Cocktail & Wine
Levels 1 and 2/31 Tattersalls Lane, Melbourne
No phone

Tue to Thu 5pm–midnight
Fri & Sat 5pm–2am