Words by Paige Vreede
Photography by Alicia Taylor
If the overcrowded, loud music, sticky floor, and cheap drinks scene is your thing, then Bar Americano is not the bar for you.
In true Melbournian fashion, Bar Americano is certainly off the beaten path. Take a few wrong turns, ask for directions, and head down a dark alley, and you'll find this hidden gem - often identifiable by the long queue outside. Inside you'll find a standing-only, ten-person capacity intimate room that falls in the battlegrounds of exclusive vs. elitist.
Bar Americano is all about quality over quantity. Sticking to the original state of the building, the chequerboard floor is nearly falling apart and the walls are made of tile with "No spitting" written across it. You will be instantaneously transported back to the 1940s with the simplicity of candlelight, large war-era fans, and the voice of Ella Fitzgerald softly filling the room.
Grab one of the leather bound books and inside you'll find a handwritten menu that is quite difficult to read. Fear not, however, with only ten patrons allowed in at a time, you will be sure to get attentive customer service from one of the friendly bar staff, who are more than willing to assist you in choosing a cocktail.
The menu consists primarily of whisk(e)y and gin-based cocktails with an extensive list of aperitifs. The drinks change weekly, but there are some classic staples such as the Negroni and of course, the Americano that remains consistent. As a take on bar nuts, there is spiced corn on offer, which can be surprisingly addictive. You won't find any beer or wine on the menu, but you will find a "No photos please, social only" note and an entire page dedicated to the concept of paying-it-forward.
The attention to detail is incomparable, with bar staff that is willing to create simple, yet delicious cocktails based on whatever your palate may be craving. If your goal is to impress your date, prove to your Mother you've got some class, or simply show your friends you're capable of drinking more than just beer on tap, then Bar Americano is the way to go. Earn some bonus points and bring up how much you love the handcrafted, Negroni scented, essential oil diffuser in the bathroom, then have a sip of your vermouth you sophisticated son of a gun.