MELBOURNE | The Mill House, a brand-new basement bar in Melbourne’s CBD has just opened and The City Lane was there for its opening night, flood pants and all.
Situated just down the road from City Library and popular cafe/bar Journal, The Mill House can be found by following a short set of stairs from Flinders Lane. Like many of Melbourne’s basement bars, the bar is a deceptively large space, with the interiors featuring a mix of nautical and smuggling props, the likes of which seem to be in a league all of their own. Given the reputation of Melbournians for taking souvenirs from bars, we hope these trinkets are nailed down.
For the launch, and as a solid indicator of things to come, attendees were treated to entertainment from a Titanic-style life drawing session, you may need to use your imagination on that one; a flapper-clad performer adorned with a boa constrictor; and a temporary tattoo artist offering designs fitting of the bar’s own nautical and smuggler iconography. I’ll admit, I doubt if these will be a regular feature of the bar, but they would be a welcome feature with a Friday night drink.
Looking beyond the aesthetics and the theatricality, The Mill House offers a tap list featuring usual faces from Little Creatures and James Boags, and some interesting additions like those from up-and-coming breweries like New South Wales’ Young Henrys. On the spirits side of things, for launch night we were offered a specially-made moonshine, a drink likely to make doves cry and convert even the most spirit-averse drinker. The wine and cocktail list is also quite decent, the cocktail we had was superb, if that is more to your taste.
There is also a quite decent food selection on the menu, but at the launch we were only given some light tasters and samples of what was on offer. The regular menu includes things such as braised brisket, a range of pizzas, and prawns. There’s also a pared back late night menu with a few less pizzas and sides, but we suspect that providing the bar is open, a few less options won’t be a big problem for you.
The layout and the feel of the place appears designed to take you away from the world. It’s big enough to fit 400 people, but there are plenty of small nooks and booths to create some more intimate spaces, making it work as both a date spot and a venue for work drinks, depending on your need.
Melbournians really are spoilt for choice when it comes to bars, but when writing this review, we were hard-pressed to come up with a basement bar we genuinely liked. With the Mill House, perhaps this might change. It’s early days for the bar, and like most bars, we’re sure it will be the subject of constant evolution while it finds its feet over the next few months, but it seems certain it is on the right track.
The Mill House
277–279 Flinders Lane
Tue – Sat: 3:00pm to late