Par­adise Al­ley

The bar in a ware­house on Easey Street wins by be­ing all things to all peo­ple

Time Out (Melbourne) - - BAR AWARDS -

IF YOU’RE A true Mel­bur­nian, you’ve got the bar you go to play pool at, the bar with a solid wine list, the bar that can mix you a good drink, and the bar you go to just to smash a de­cent beer. Par­adise Al­ley is all th­ese things and more, which is why it takes out Best New Bar for 2018. You’ll see owner Laura Twomey (ex City Wine Shop) in ev­ery ser­vice – lively, en­gag­ing and man­ag­ing the crowd ex­pertly. Since the place be­came a pop­u­lar hang­out for the whole of Fitzroy and Colling­wood, she’s ex­panded her crew, but they’re way more than a sup­port­ing cast, hav­ing ea­gle eyes for those who need ser­vice and back­ing it up with the know-how. The wine list is in­tel­li­gent and bal­anced, with noth­ing over $15 by the glass and heavy lean­ing on the trendier la­bels. Twomey gives her guests ex­actly what they want with­out com­pro­mis­ing on stan­dards: the ever-funky Bo­bar, or a field blend blanc from Tassie’s quiet high-achiever Simla, next to the cov­eted low stocks of Ade­laide Hills’ the Other Right. Th­ese sit proudly next to a large col­lec­tion of aper­i­tifs, sher­ries and ports that are forc­ing Gen Y to change the way they drink. Par­adise Al­ley may want you to get fes­tive, but you’re go­ing to do it in style, dammit!

Cock­tails are not the fo­cus of here, but they still give them a red-hot go. The Death Touch is an ex­am­ple of a house con­coc­tion that is easy to whip up in the push of ser­vice: heavy in tequila and mez­cal, the smoky agave flavours are shaken with fresh straw­ber­ries, bal­anced with the tart­ness of lemon and tamarind and spiked with a touch of chilli – hint­ing at a range of flavours, but never tip­ping over the edge. Par­adise Al­ley gives you ev­ery­thing you want out of a bar with­out seem­ing overde­signed – an out­side area, a smok­ing al­ley, a pool room, a col­lec­tion of re­cy­cled fur­ni­ture work­ing har­mo­niously next to a grand, cus­tom-built wooden bar. Its nat­u­ral charisma makes it ef­fort­lessly cool, giv­ing us the respite from Peak Mel­bourne we so des­per­ately needed.

25 Easey St, Colling­wood 3066. 03 9029 8484. www.par­adis­eal­ Wed-fri 4pm-late; Sat, Sun noon-late.

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