MELBOURNE | Apollo Inn is Andrew McConnell and Jo McGann’s ode to Melbourne’s cocktail bars of old, and the ageless art of hospitality. It’s a tiny, 20 seater bar, housed in the heritage listed neo-Renaissance McDonald House. It’s a few doors up from Gimlet, where the original Apollo Inn, one of Melbourne’s first pubs, opened in 1844.
It’s a beautiful bar, one that evokes a bygone era as you step inside. There’s a classic feel about things, with a long marble-topped benchtop atop a wooden bar, complimented by vintage watercolour artwork, dark timber and dark furnishings throughout.
The drinks menu is outstanding, featuring the classics and house creations. There’s four types of martinis (Dry, Dirty, Cafe and Gibson), and a particular delicious take on a negroni, the Lucien Gaudin. Gin, Campari, dry vermouth, and a house-made Marnier is used in the latter for a less-bitter affair.
Beyond cocktails, there’s a short list of wines by the glass and bottle, and beer on tap. If you’re looking for more wines, the 300 plus strong Gimlet wine cellar is available here.
As you’d expect from a McConnell venue, the food at Apollo Inn is anything but an afterthought. It’s a menu of around 12 snacks designed with drinking in mind. Shellfish on ice, beef Carpaccio, a selection of cheeses, and a wonderful potato and chive rosti topped with white sturgeon caviar, salmon roe, and crème fraîche.
Apollo Inn does take reservations, with about half of the space left free for walk-ins. It gets busy during peak house, and is best visited after dinner or a show for a late night tipple if you don’t have a booking. Pro tip, if you’re willing to wait for a table and nobody else is in the waiting area, you can perch yourself against the counter in the waiting area and enjoy a drink.
165 Flinders Lane
Sat – Thu: 5:00pm to 1:00am
Fri: 3:00pm to 1:00am