Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Bar Americano - Do Not Spit!

Bar Americano has been around for over a year now and is tucked away on Presgrave Place off of Little Collins Street in the Melbourne CBD. It was conceived by Matthew Bax of Der Raum fame. The first time I went on the hunt for this small bar, I had intentions to purchase coffee. When I finally found the establishment, it was closed however since the abandoned first visit, Bar Americano has started trading daily, not only opening at the crack of dawn for coffee (with a tipple if you desire) and staying open late to satisfy those who crave the best spirits available.

The entrance to Bar Americano - Look for the sign!
On one particularly boozy yet relaxing Saturday afternoon, after frequenting the Hairy Canary I presented myself at Bar Americano with one other with the intention to drink cocktails with impunity. This venue is the smallest bar that I have ever been fortunate enough to enter and that is an understatement. To say that fifteen drinkers would be comfortable in this place at any given time is a reach. At its peak on this visit, there were eight people in this small room yet it was comfortable and buzzing with great music being played but not at a level which distracts you from the ambiance and more importantly, conversation. Being confined, customers converge around the bar and actually do something that is a bit odd - strangers speak with one another in a civilised way. After living in Sydney for the majority of my adult life, you are not used to such a practice when normally you are drinking in institutions blaring doof-doof and noise so loud that you can not speak without shouting. Sometimes I have to pinch myself and remind myself that I am in Melbourne and not Sydney where the notion of pleasant conversation is not something that is frowned upon.

There is a single bar person on duty at a given time. Considering both the facilities available and the space that service is constrained to, the professionalism consistently shines through. The talent that it takes to mix cocktails (whilst juggling the demands for random orders of coffee and conversing with guests) in such small confines is always impressive. There is an amusing sign on the wall that suggests not to order a latte after 2:00 PM (although I notice that it appears and disappears randomly) as the refusal of service often offends. This is an apt sign however lattes were still prepared after this milestone once but it never impacted the production of alcohol-based pleasures or the conversation with the bartender. True class.

The walls are tiled to mimic Flinders Street Station from a bygone era when Do Not Spit was emblazoned for all to see. Given that the venue attracts some wayward characters like the piano player from one of the local brothels, investment bankers and tourists perhaps the reminder is apt.

On my visits to this back lane boozer, I have always instructed the bartender to make whatever they feel like and I have not been disappointed. I hate to recommend this place as I want it to be one of the hidden secrets that I can attend without a mob of people but as I have found, with the exception of bars on Chapel and King Streets, I really do not have to worry because everyone that I have met in this classy boozer has been fun, interesting and worth getting to know.

Bar Americano frequently puts on special cocktail evenings with guest bartenders. It is worth contacting Der Raum and becoming a member in order to receive a discount on these special and infrequent nights if you want attend one of these sought after events.

On recent weekends of debauchery where I needed to entertain out of town guests, Bar Americano was a featured destination where the bar impressed. It featured in one of my "best of" hedonistic drinking staggers around Melbourne and also was a destination of choice to follow-up a recent experience at Movida Aqui, along of course with Der Raum.


Bar Americano, Presgrave Place, Melbourne
Bar Americano
Link to review
20 Presgrave Place  Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9428 0055
www.baramericano.com
My Rating: 17.5/20
Service: 5/5
Ambiance: 4/5
Quality: 4/5
Value For Money: 4.5/5
Comment: Smallest bar I have ever seen, $ only


Twitter: @epicurean3006
e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com
web: www.epicureanofsouthbank.com

When I updated this blog post on 14/09/12, 92% of the reviewers on Urbanspoon also like Bar Americano. You will too.


 Bar Americano on Urbanspoon