In July, Melbourne was gutted by the news that iconic rooftop bar Madame Brussels was closing after 15 years. It was known for its wild garden parties, Wonderland-esque decor and consistent good times.
“Tough decision, but the city’s just not coming back – especially our east end of town,” co-owner Paula Scholes (who goes by Miss Pearls) told Broadsheet at the time. “It’s pretty crappy. There’s just no people.”
But one hospo pair hasn’t given up hope. The CBD institution has been snapped up by venue operators Tom Rattigan (Double Happiness, New Gold Mountain, Lily Blacks) and Joshua Stevens (New Gold Mountain), who plan to reopen it after lockdown with just a few changes.
“We heard it was closing and we were really keen to buy it and keep the spirit alive,” Stevens tells Broadsheet. “I always enjoyed coming up here, I worked in the neighbourhood.”
It’ll reopen in the first week of November after some maintenance work, with more or less the same fit-out and a similar offering.
The popular sangria is staying, but there’ll be a few new cocktails weaving in some of the area’s history of ill repute, including a drink named after the Victorian parliamentary mace that disappeared (and was rumoured to be at the brothel of Caroline Hodgson, aka Madame Brussels) in 1892.
Expect snackier menu items too, such as cheese boards, pates, cured meats and terrines, plus house-made crisps served with Bloody Shiraz Gin caviar and crème fraîche.
Madame Brussels is reopening at Level 3 59 Bourke Street, Melbourne, in early November.