MELBOURNE | Just before lockdown, I was treated to a wonderful night at small bar 1806 by owners Tracy and Vig Sivakumar. The duo purchased the bar, their first foray into the world of hospo, with their friend Jimmy early this year, with the blessing of founder and original owner, Lisa Kelly.
To say that the new team has big shoes to fill is an understatement. 1806 first opened in 2007, and has consistently been one of the best cocktail bars in Melbourne. In fact, it was one of the first bars that I visited on my first holiday to Melbourne in Feb 2008. That’s was a big night that led to hospo night shenanigans, with the 1806 crew of that era, at Pony until the break of daylight. That whole evening is a story, but I digress!
What’s relevant to you? Well for starters, walk inside and everything looks the same. This is no bad thing. “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” is the mantra here. 1806 built its reputation on taking visitors through a timeline of cocktails, from the invention of the very first cocktail, the Old Fashioned, in 1806, through to modern creations. Every drink on the menu here has a story, and the extremely knowledgeable staff are happy to chat about their craft. A tasty hot and cold bar is still offered too.
What’s changed? You can book cocktail making classes, where one of the bartenders will spend time with you teaching you how to make classics and your own creations. Basement bar, The Understudy, has had a bit of a facelift, and reopens tonight. And as it turns out, the building always had a decent rooftop that was never used… watch this space.
169 Exhibition Street
Telephone: 0466 621 446
Sun, Wed – Thu: 5:00pm to 12:00am
Fri – Sat: 4:00pm to 1:00am