As its name­sake, the im­pres­sive white stag, looms over­head, this CBD drink­ing hole is so much more than a mere ship­ping con­tainer bar

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Eat Out - WHITE­HART: RE­VIEWED BY DAN STOCK

IT WAS a decade ago that Sec­tion 8 tem­po­rar­ily took over a dis­used car park in the CBD, added a cou­ple of ship­ping con­tain­ers and ce­mented Mel­bourne’s rep­u­ta­tion on the world stage as a hotspot for cut­ting-edge sa­loons.

While the old­est pop-up bar in his­tory is still go­ing strong, White­hart has now taken that same up­cy­cled func­tion­al­ity to cre­ate a next-gen con­tainer bar that’s as ar­rest­ing as the myth­i­cal white stag from which the venue takes its name.

Lots of steel pro­vides in­dus­trial heft to this one­time car park, and flow­ing stag horns sup­ply green­ery. Against that back­drop, there’s a wealth of switched-on staff pour­ing pints and stir­ring a mean boule­vardier – the whisky drinker’s an­swer to a ne­groni.

Open­ing a cou­ple of months ago, when long, warm even­ings were still a Mel­bourne thing, the two-storey space is a feast of pro­jected vi­su­als, tow­er­ing palms and clever light­ing, at­tract­ing a pan-gen­er­a­tional crowd of cre­ative in­dus­try and hospo types. Let’s hope it weath­ers win­ter as well.

Booze has been se­lected with ob­vi­ous care and in­sight, with a crack­ing list of beers on tap – from the cool Kona Hawai­ian golden ale through to Hol­gate IPA – paired with equally clever cans in the fridge (Pi­rate Life, Gage Roads).

Wines flit across the world, with drops rang­ing any­where from a Yarra Val­ley Med­hurst chardon­nay to a Montepulciano or three-fig­ure Morn­ing­ton pinot.

Nour­ish­ment comes cour­tesy of some of the best food trucks in the city on a chang­ing weekly ros­ter, and could fea­ture the low-and-slow brisket styles of Iron­bark BBQ, Happy Cam­per’s wood­fired piz­zas, or Ghost Kitchen’s Tai­wanese street food. DJS on the decks on week­ends un­til late reaf­firm its party sta­tus.

From top: rev­ellers gather on a re­cent night, Poor Tom’s Early Grey Spritz on tap, and the mix of pop art and palms.

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