Small bars and Chinatown. Two excellent things for a solid evening on the town in Melbourne. Union Electric, a new bar from Huw Griffiths (The Royal Saxon, Madame Brussels, and Le Bon Ton) and Shane Whiteley, is combining the two. Tucked down Heffernan Lane just off Little Bourke Street, you’ll need to be looking out for this newcomer.
Once you find the green door, you know you’ve arrived at the 1891 building, which used to house the Union Electric Lighting Company. Hence the name of this new speakeasy inspired venue. While some of the original bricks and timber ceiling above the bar have remained, the team have made over the rest, giving it that small bar, intimate feel with soft lighting, a seriously well stocked bar, and just a handful of seats.
The cocktail menu, which is going to rival some of the best in town, has drawn inspiration from the awesome bartenders that serve us throughout this fine city. The Japanese Slipper for example, is a tribute to Melbourne’s bartenders and is a mix of lemon juice, Midori, and Curacao. In a nod to next door the Kum Den Botanica is a combination of West Winds Gin, elderflower, fresh apple, lime, cucumber, and micro herbs. You can even head to their website for a fun game of cocktail Tinder. You’ll get to know the cocktail’s nationality, what makes it special (think the ingredients), and a little more about its personality. The Japanese Slipper for example? Apparently… “She’s been around a little while now but she’s still super duper Kawaii!. Be careful looking directly into her eyes as she can be quite hypnotising.” You decide whether to swipe left or right.
The wine menu is somewhat discrete, listing a champagne from Napoleon, Reims, a Pinot Grigio from the King Valley, and a Shiraz from Margaret River. But they’ve got the regions right so we’re not arguing. For the beer drinkers, go for the Murray’s Rude Boy Pilsner, the Feral ‘Hop Hog’ IPA, or a Custard & Co Scrumpy cider.
Oh and you can get New Kum Den yum cha delivered from next door. Think Peking Duck Pancakes, Prawn Lucky Moneybags, Salt and Pepper Chicken Ribs, or Salt and Pepper Silken Tofu. What more does your Chinatown evening need?
13 Heffernan Lane, Melbourne