“We’re calling it ‘Arlechin’,” says Guy Grossi of his new bar, which is in a laneway behind his famous Italian restaurant, Grossi Florentino. “It’s a play on the word arlecchino, the Italian word for ‘harlequin’, because the harlequin is a cheeky, mischievous character.
“The whole idea is that this character has given us the mood and personality of this bar.”
Slated to open in early April, Arlechin will be a 40-seat wine bar offering a small-but-sophisticated food menu, and “a really good drinks list” curated by Joe Jones from Romeo Lane. Six Degrees Architecture – one of the firms responsible for Melbourne’s laneway bar culture – is behind the design, which Grossi says will be “very moody, kind of luxurious, but also very relaxed”.
Grossi Florentino’s cellar is being relocated there, so you'll be sitting among hundreds of bottles of wine, and the waiters will duck in and out to grab a drop for over the laneway.
Entry to the bar is on Mornane Place, the laneway behind Grossi Florentino on Bourke Street which, unlike some of the city’s more popular laneways, is currently full of bins and in need of some love. Grossi’s project has roused the attention of the City of Melbourne, which will include it in its Love Your Laneway program – an initiative that improves the condition of some of the city’s more neglected laneways – and will help by fixing the lane’s paving and lighting. Grossi has also commissioned street artist Mike Maka (aka Makatron) to paint a piece on the laneway wall.
“By the time we’re finished, it’s going to be really nice,” says Grossi. “A place with a community benefit, and where food, drinks and mischief meet – that’s the style we’re going for.”
Arlechin will open in early April.