Berets and wristbands abound in the the place my mate Matt calls "Ebelingo" because there's so much chalk that the whole place is chattering. He's great. Anyway, come to the Ebeling for great service and even better house DJ's. A must.
Tel: 020 689 45 58
One the must-see hip bars in psiri, with an upstairs dance club and flavoursome international dishes. Renowned for its eclectic, always in the mood for dancing crowd and arguably the nicest courtyard one can find in the middle of town.
65 Evripidou street, psiri
Tel: 0030 210 3310907
This bar is set in the antiques market and actually uses old furniture for its clients (some of the hippest people), in a dimly-lit atmosphere. Now and then, you can find some interesting art exhibitions or projections on the wall. In the summer, great for seating outside.
3 Avissinias Sq, Monastiraki
Tel: 0030 210 3246446
A club that is everything from a dj space to a trance room to a pool table to a cafe to a bar and back to a crazy dance night. Always feels like everyone's welcome whilst maintaining a very cool vibe.
Chapel Street, Windsor end
A wine bar that opens at 10 pm and stays open till the early hours of the morning. Go through the tiny doorway and up the rickety stairs to find a cosy space filled with old couches, low lighting, amazing staff and a wine list as long as a novel. Check the view from the end window across town.
On Spring Street, near the corner of Bourke Street
Try the hidden pubs and Lounges for a change. They're not just places to drink, but eat, relax and check out some great hidden scenes and music. Try places like Tony Starr's Kitten Club for great music, unusual drinks and amazing fusion Australasian food. Or perhaps the big overstuffed chairs and cozy surroundings of GP (the Gin Palace), where the list of martinis will dazzle all. They arrive at your table in very tall glasses and are all themed and use the best ingredients.
If those places are not hip enough, how about La La Land, where their specialty is fondue and the settings will have you relaxing and feeling hip the minute you recline on one of the many sofas.
Tony Starr’s Kitten Club: 267 Little Collins Street, Melbourne; tel: 03 9650 2448; www.kittenclub.com.au
Gin Palace: 190 Little Collins Street, Melbourne; tel: 03 9654 0533
La La Land: Corner of Hardware and Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne; tel: 03 9670 5011
All of these hidden places can be found in a simple
pack of cards. These cards contain not only the addresses of Melbourne’s hidden bars (which can be down an alley and through an unmarked door) but directions as well. The cards break down the CBD into areas which makes planning your evening and getting to each venue very easy. For more information see www.shoppingsecrets.com
I don’t recommend anyone to go anywhere near this "housing development". Taxi drivers won't take you there and the police only go there in extreme cases, usually by the dozen (of vans), but on Sundays there´s a great market in "The Alameda de Hercules". Try the food in Los Robles (calle Argote de Molina), it’s not cheap, but the food is great.
On Thursdays there´s a street market called “El Jueves”. On Wednesdays they put a sign on the church door which says "tomorrow is Thursday", just in case you forgot it's Wednesday.
Some things may have changed in the 20 years since I lived there but the art school dance goes on forever. Avoid if possible La plaza de la Pulmareja, which is close to La Macarena, but try to visit La Plaza de San Romanand and the bar of the same name. They have a blackboard which counts down the days to La Madrugá, the night between Thursday and Good Friday when the Cristo de Los Gitanos goes out for a walk. I once saw and heard Cameron de la Isla singing Saetas there, spinechilling.
c/ Argote de Molina is one minute from the cathedral
Stylish and laid back this is a haven from busy Deansgate. The food is great as well, it is a good place to go for lunch at the weekend. Recently become much more popular, but I have never seen a Premiership footballer in there, they must all be next door at The Living Room. Label is much more low key.
Deansgate opposite the Barton Arcade
Pizza is all you really get on the menu, but they range from a classic quattro staggioni to lamb with sultanas and fresh rocket, topped of with a Belgian chocolate pizza for dessert. Throw in the fact that this perfect pizza is just four bucks between seven and 10, Monday to Thursday and you're on to a winner.
Get there early to bag a table, enjoy the atmosphere and be treated to a different DJ every night, spinning anything from rare groove to funky house. The staff are friendly and if you're looking for that perfect holiday gift for granny, you can bag yourself a souvenir t-shirt sporting toy dolls enjoying a good spanking session. A very good, very Brunswick St kind of night out.
Brunswick St. The 112 tram from Collins St in the CBD will drop you right on the doorstep. Look for the ten-foot-high doll above the doorway, it's kind of hard to miss
Eclectic, brash, irritatingly bright and tasteless. That's just the pool table. Even better, if they are still running the bingo nights, you have to go. That's right, bingo. Just go, you will have an experience to savour. No guidebook mentions this place and I feel a little guilty about this hidden gem but surely nothing could ruin it.
605 Victoria Street, Abbotsford
The heart and soul of St Kilda's Fitzroy Street. Known for many things: its cool Art Deco exterior, posh wine store, internationally renowned live acts, eclectic mix of drinkers and take-no-sass barstaff. Best on a balmy week night - sit outside on the benches, order a pot of beer, chat to the locals and watch as the sun goes down over Port Phillip Bay.
29 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda; www.theprince.com.au; tel: (613) 9536 1111; nearest tram: No 96 Light rail tram from the city centre. Hop off and head down the road towards the beach
Most of Melbourne's many and best central bars do not have signs, they are down an alleyway, through a non-descript door. Get a local to show you, or explore the alleyways yourself and discover Melbourne's best-kept secrets.
Anywhere and everywhere in the centre of Melbourne
Raday utca, close to the Kalvin Tér metro, is a popular spot for both tourists and young locals, it has a lot of restaurants and bars. At the far end is a personal favourite of mine. It’s a lively bar/restaurant called Castro (recently closed, but rumoured to be reopening on on Madach Ter, VII district) serving Serbian specialties and is almost always busy, which can make it difficult for groups exceeding six. Castro has internet access, which is great for when you're having discussion about something over a pint and no-one knows the answer.
It's the Whitney Houston to the Tig's Bobbie Brown. More likely to be filled with media types walking around tugging on each others’ sculptured facial hair and discussing the 'lighting' on their latest shoot. On Sundays the clientele changes and you can enjoy a mediocre Harvester style experience that'll have you pining for home.
At the back of the Tig Barra
Elevate is a nightclub and it’s totally awesome. I came to India thinking that there would be no good clubs to go to - but I was wrong. It is fabulous and has UK DJs playing there, we saw DJ Sasha.
The music is great, with trance on a Friday and R&B on a Saturday. It’s open till 6am, which is a bonus.
Centrestage Mall, Sector 18, Noida
Great hippy vibe, some cool laidback bars, quieter beaches, wonderful seafood restaurants and amazing green mountains to climb round the back. A brilliant day out. Try to find the crazy old man with a yellow beard selling second hand books, or try the curry at the cafe next to Diesel's bar.
Star Ferry pier 3 (used to be) - couple of quid, a half hour ferry ride and bingo.
A hidden first-floor restaurant with authentic German food. Yes, I know it’s German but it’s amazing and very popular with locals and bizarre expats who treat it as their own and welcome anyone who enters its tiny door.
After the good food try Ned Kelly’s down the street, where the band is the best in HK at what they do. Good old sing alongs and classics that keep the crown entertained well into the night.
Weinstube: First floor, Ashley Rd, TST, Kowloon
Ned Kelly: street level on Ashley Rd
Both are reachable from Tsim Sha Tsui MTR
Fabulous restaurant on Lantau Island. There’s an enormous patio (stoep) under the trees on a wide, sandy beach, serving South African food (interesting, quite delicious with a Malay influence, and some of the best bread I have ever tasted).
Really friendly staff with a good, relaxed approach makes for a welcome break from the frantic pace of Central. Great stop-over on a day trip to Lantau for a long lunch, some sunbathing and swimming.
Near Tong Fuk village, Lantau Island
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