Storyville, Melbourne, Victoria
This quirky bar in hip ’n’ happening Melbourne takes visitors on a fantastical journey.
By Dan F Stapleton
Published: 03 October, 2017
Melbourne already boasts a collection of ultra-trendy bars and clubs, many hidden away in unmarked laneways or dimly lit basements. So when entrepreneurs Steve Thomas and Keti Kezunovic decided to open a new venue in Australia’s second-largest city, they knew they needed to innovate and amaze. The result is Storyville: an extravagant two-storey space inspired by fables, fairy tales and escapist literature that is quite unlike anything else Melbourne has to offer. Read on for the lowdown on the venue that locals and visitors alike are buzzing about.
Out of this world
The owners have described Storyville as “a gateway into an alternate world” – a weird and wonderful place where different myths and stories rub up against each other, creating a sense of unreality. The venue is divided into themed areas that promise to transport patrons. The Mushroom Palace is a cocktail lounge with giant glowing fungi hanging from the ceiling. The Library is adorned with super-sized books. There is even a giant golden Bird Cage. Oh, and did we mention the Narnia-themed dance floor?
Cocktails with a literary pedigree
The team at Storyville has taken a novel approach to cocktails – literally. The generously sized original concoctions are each inspired by a particularly intoxicating work of fiction, from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to A Clockwork Orange. Our favourites include the New York Peach (based on James and the Giant Peach), featuring cognac, kirsch, cherry, peach and lemon; Grapes of Wrath, which is made with Four Pillars Blood Shiraz gin, champagne and chianti foam; and the austere War & Peace with vodka and vermouth. Feeling particularly reverent? There’s also a selection of drinks lifted directly from classic books, each accompanied by a quote. James Bond’s Vesper Martin martini from Casino Royale is particularly popular.
Green eggs and ham
What would a themed bar be without themed food? At Storyville, choosing a midnight snack is almost as much fun as selecting a cocktail. You simply must try a “jaffle” (the Australian term for a toasted sandwich, which is sealed along the edges with a special sandwich press) – perhaps the Green Eggs and Ham, which is stuffed with basil and English cheddar; or the Little Red Hen, made with chicken cacciatore, potato, red pepper, olives and thyme. Those craving something more sophisticated can build their own plate of cheese and charcuterie from a list that includes burrata, wagyu pastrami and spicy black Iberian salami. Be sure to ask for accompaniments, which include baby pickled figs, and peach and muscatel chutney.
And all that jazz
Of course, all the novelty in the world can’t save a bar if it doesn’t get the basics right. Luckily, the duo behind Storyville has oodles of experience in the Melbourne hospitality scene. Every detail has been considered, from the on-trend DJs to the generous guest-to-staff ratio, which means you’ll never have to wait too long for a drink. If you’re not in the mood for a cocktail, you’ll find expertly curated wine and beer lists, both of which lean heavily towards Australian drops (try the pale ale from nearby brewery 2 Brothers). Organising a larger get-together? Contact the Storyville team for a range of package options.
If you're hungry for more fanciful food take a look at these Instagrammable vegan treats.
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