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