Surprise hit restaurant Kafeneion will move into another city institution, The Melbourne Supper Club, from February 7. The Athenian-style Greek tavern was imagined as a temporary pop-up by Con Christopoulos and Stavros Konis at Christopoulos’s empty cafe Self Preservation, but was such a success the party will continue indefinitely around the corner on Spring Street.

With the Self Preservation space set to become a high-end sushi train in the coming months, the Kafeneion team had been searching for another CBD venue without much luck. After closing in December, they realised the solution was right in front of them: move from one Christopoulos institution to another. The hospo stalwart owns classics such as City Wine Shop and The European, and his legendary Supper Club has been a late-night staple since the 1990s.

“We’re bringing the sensibility of Kafeneion over [to the Supper Club], so it’s still going be that charming, double clothed, romantic offering,” Christopolous tells Broadsheet. “There will still be Siglo customers walking through the space to get to the roof … It’s a bit like dancing with a girl for the first time – we don’t know who is going to lead.”

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The low-lit, narrow space with worn couches and a dramatic window framing Parliament House will get a minor makeover to accommodate over 100 diners. “We’ll be offering a full Greek menu, tweaked for the seasons. But if someone comes in at 8pm and just wants champagne and caviar, that’s fine. We don’t want to alienate the old customers, so there will still be party pies and toasted sandwiches.”

After opening in 1998, the Supper Club cemented itself as Melbourne’s leading late-night hangout at the forefront of the city’s “hidden bar” boom. “I thought at worst it was going to be a place where I played backgammon with my mates. But within weeks it was an overnight success … It was a hedonistic, thumping funhouse.” In the years to come it became the place to be seen, packed until dawn. “We’d kick everyone out and then they’d go downstairs and have breakfast at the European,” Christopolous says.

The venue has the right Athenian 1950s vibe to suit Kafeneion 2.0 (“kafenio” is the Greek term for a traditional coffee house). The unfussy menu features fried sweetbreads, salty dips, slow-roasted lamb, bright Greek salads and carafes of wine to a backdrop of traditional Greek music. Christopolous attributes the success of the pop-up down to a few key factors. “It’s a flexible offering, it’s affordable, it’s romantic, and it’s driven by some good-hearted people. So the idea is to recreate the magic in a space that has its own magic.”

Kafeneion at the Supper Club opens on February 7

Kafeneion at the Supper Club
First Floor, 161 Spring Street, Melbourne
(03) 9654 6300

Hours:
Daily 5pm–late (full menu until 11.30pm, licensed until 4am)

kafeneion.com.au
@kafeneion