Photography by diffordsguide.com
Words by Lukas Raschilla on 20-Jun-2018
Level 1, 306 Smith Street, Collingwood, VIC, 3066, Australia
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Monday -Sunday: 5pm-1am
Style: Cocktail bar
Recommended for: Cocktails, Spirits, Decor
Price guide: Middling
Food: No food
Owned by: Hayden Lambert
Housed in Melbourne's inner north suburb of Collingwood, Above Board is the brainchild of veteran bartender Hayden Lambert. Head up the stairs via craft beer bar Beer Mash, or through the back entrance via Chopper Lane and be transported to a minimalist inspired venue consisting of a long island bar made from one piece of wood with a soft finish, taking notes from Japanese style bars. The venue has seating around the bar and uniquely, two coveted seats placed in behind the bar, giving customers a full view of the action. The bar also sits low, unlike a traditional bar, meaning there's no barrier between you and the bartender, adding to the minimalist vibe and transparency with which it was designed.
At Above Board, the focus is on great tasting cocktails and hospitality, serving up a curated selection of both classics and signature serves. Having spent years honing his skills at The Merchant Hotel in Belfast and locally at Melbourne's Bar Americano, Hayden's skills, banter, and drinks are second to none. This is the kind of bar you feel at home at, whether you're stopping by on your own for a quiet drink after work or heading in with friends on a weekend. And, adding to the allure, due to the intimate nature of the bar, the venue only houses 12 seats, with no standing room permitted, meaning it never feels cluttered and you're never waiting long for a drink. The service here is quick, the chat is engaging and, of course, the drinks speak for themselves.
The design of the venue allows one bartender to control the room and engage with each customer. The venue has no backbar, with Hayden preferring to identify with flavour, texture and taste, and here, the spirits are decanted into crystal bottles and placed in a draw that sits next to the bar. Described by Hayden as being, "Unintentionally Melbourne's most Melbourne bar", due to its hidden location, this also adds to the allure and charm of the venue. For delicious cocktails, banter and hospitality this place is well worth seeking out.