MELBOURNE | Hats & Tatts began life as a spinoff bar of Western Australian gin makers West Winds. A fun space to experiment with fun cocktails made using the gin, along with other things. It didn’t take long for the bar to well and truly become its own thing, nailing the US ‘dive bar’ theme, backed by excellent drinks, tasty food, and a genuinely fun, welcoming atmosphere.
Early this year, the bar relocated from its original South Melbourne location, into the CBD space formerly home to Red Hummingbird. Would it be able to retain what was special about it in the transition? The answer is well and truly, yes.
Walk up the unassuming stairs into the main bar, and you’ll recognise many of the fixtures and trinkets from the original. The space is still bathed in mostly blue tinged neon, the “derelict my balls” sign still graces the bar, the “Jack Lives Here” neon still shines over the billiards table, with retro arcade games to the side. It’s a new space, but it hasn’t skipped a beat.
Behind the bar, there’s over 450 different spirits on offer, used in an assortment of creative and delicious cocktails. For beer, there’s a focus on local and American craft beers on the taps and in cans. To eat, it’s a menu of American comfort food classics. Buttermilk brined fried chicken, mac and cheese croquettes, burgers and the like.
If you want some fresh air, head upstairs to the rooftop. There’s a separate bar up there, not too dissimilar from the Red Hummingbird days. Umbrellas, partial cover, and heating, make it a space that can be enjoyed all year ’round.
I never went to Hats & Tatts as much as I’d have liked when it was in South Melbourne, by simple virtue of the fact that… southside. Now located in the city, which I pass through multiple times a week, I foresee much more Hats & Tatts in my life.
Hats & Tatts
1/246 Russell Street
Wed – Sat: 6:00pm to 3:00am