If the city loop is Melbourne’s blood supply, Flinders Street Station is its heartbeat. It keeps the city alive with a constant stream of tourists, students, commuting suits and late-night revelers.
Trying to cater for such a diverse crowd would be too much for some. Darran Smith grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
“I’ve done pubs; I’ve done restaurants and fine dining. I’ve never done an all-day diner, so I’m just crossing off the list as I go,” says the former co-owner of The Roving Marrow at the Astor in Carlton.
He’s rejuvenated Clocks at Flinders Street Station – a timeworn pokies venue – with Steve Schreuder, a former manager at the Open Door Pub Company. Now it’s Green Light Diner, an all-day eatery where you can order a pancake stack for dinner, if that’s your thing. All-day breakfast starts early, and steaks, parmas and slow-cooked lamb ribs join the mix after 10am.
All-day sandwiches on Brasserie Bread include the Good Morning (scrambled eggs, cheddar, bacon, jalapeno mayo), inspired by LA’s Eggslut. 5 & Dime salt-beef bagels take their cues from London’s Brick Lane and are available until 1am on Friday and Saturday via a takeaway window.
“They’re for that time when you’re leaving a bar or club and you need that ugly, delicious snack food,” Smith says.
Studio Nine Architects oversaw the multi-million dollar revamp, which has recreated the look of a 1920s train station. Elegant globe lights curl over dark leather couches and booth seating. Finishes are marble and brass. By the end of the year, a downstairs den will turn into Miss Gun whisky bar.
Until then, drinks can be had from a bar down the back, just before you hit the pokies. The bar is also part of Clocks, one of two gaming venues owned by Doxa Social Club. The organisation uses the profits to help disadvantaged children in the community. Smith will be working with the bar to serve batched cocktails such as Negronis and Espresso Martinis.
One Sunday per month, Green Light will also host Midnight Express. It’s a catered get-together with a rotating chef (May welcomes Iain Ling from Hotel Lincoln), designed for hospo workers to network and let their hair down. It’ll kick off at 12am and go until the wee hours (the venue is licensed until 4am).
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do but I’ve never had the license for Sunday night to go past 10pm,” Smith says. “It’ll be a good way for those in the industry to wind down, relax.
“And also, just because we can. It’s a bit of a fuck you to Sydney.”
Green Light Diner
Shop 17, The Concourse, Flinders Street Station
(03) 9046 8260
Mon to Thu 7am–9pm