You may need directions to find this inconspicuously located new bar. It sneaks you past the NAB, along a narrow alley and finally down some curious steps that lead out to a dimly lit, warehouse-like space where conceptual design compliments an overall open and minimalist aesthetic.
Stripped back to its bare bones, little remains of the former Cabana Club. Rather, Strange Wolf prefers painted brickwork and concrete flooring over the previous occupants’ choice of gift-wrap style wallpaper and chintzy paper umbrellas. A more artistic eye now casts over the space; the Fluxus art movement is cited as major inspiration for the more conceptually orientated fit-out.
Affiliated names such as Joseph Beuys and American sculptor Sol LeWitt come to mind, the latter marking the inspiration for the custom-built, modular wooden chandelier that hangs over the gently curved bar. Another prominent feature is the terrarium-style plant installations that suspend organically in functional alcoves, acting almost as mini gallery spaces in their own right.
A highly considered, selective and customised approach defines Strange Wolf, and even the food doesn't forgo a magic touch from the creative wand. A tiny but well written menu – to “aid” the consumption of drinks – offers wild boar meatballs, African spiced beans and stuffed squid ink, each served in unconventional jars and tins, atop a wooden serving board.
Suiting both your casual after work drinkers or late night dancing crowd, Strange Wolf caters to both with a good drinks menu, weekend DJ's and low-key vibe that is just as inconspicuous as its backdoor-style, secret entrance.
Basement, 71 Collins Street, Melbourne
(03) 9662 4914
Wed to Fri 5pm–3am