The doors leading deep beneath the Newmarket Hotel are open once again for the re-launch of Cellar Bar in St Kilda. Late last year, Melbourne Pub Group unveiled the underground bar as an exclusive dining room serving high-end degustations. But the original Cellar Bar was lacking something of the common touch, so it went on hiatus for a rethink. Now, with a focus on drinking, a lighter menu, a slight interior refit, some music and some schnitzels, the Cellar Bar is back open.
Fitted with plush, upholstered private booths, clad in wood-panelling and occasionally glittering with a hint of gold, the Cellar Bar is a lounge bar in love with past. Everything from its crystal glassware down to the little scalloped fans adorning the stage, speak of the good old days, when people weren’t afraid of a bit of sparkle.
And, in the good old days, people weren’t afraid of the pleasures of the flesh – whether it be crumbed, pan-fried or revealed from behind some feathers and lace – as confirmed by weekly Schnitz ‘n’ Tits nights, which MPG are bringing back. While the evening has unsurprisingly attracted some controversy, it’s set to reveal itself on Thursdays from next week, in what we’re promised is a ‘tasteful’ iteration.
Besides its more contentious offerings, Cellar Bar is serving Latin-inspired plates, promising “light food and heavy entertainment”. Its cocktail list is also an exercise in Rococo, with delicate, floral concoctions like the Subterranean Sage, featuring West Winds Gin, pinot gris, apple, pear, sage and macadamia nuts.
But in the tradition of great lounges, most important is the music. At the new Cellar Bar, a line-up of local and international DJs and live acts is in the works, with DJs on Friday nights and bands (think roots orchestras and soul) on Saturdays.
As for the infamous Schnitz ‘n’ Titz, it will begin next Thursday (July 25) and every hour girls will take to the stage to perform a show marked ‘adults only’.