MELBOURNE | Heartbreaker is one of the first places that comes to mind when people ask us for a fun bar to visit in Melbourne. It’s owned by Michael Madrusan (The Everleigh), and Sebastian Raeburn (1806, Artemis Gin) and is a world away from the refined cocktail bar atmosphere of the other venue’s they’ve been assosciated with.
The space is very low lit, with a giant neon “Heartbreaker” sign greeting you as you walk in. Below the sign are some booths, with a long bar leading towards a pool tables, tables and seats towards the back. There’s a jukebox full of classic rock albums mostly from the 1960s through to the 1980s, and even better you can program in the songs that you want to hear. There’s no dance-floor here, but it’s not unusual to see people dancing all over the place – around the bar, on top of the bar, and anywhere else in the venue. Anyone who has been to the back bar at Frankie’s Pizza in Sydney will immediately feel at home.
The place might have the air of a USA-style dive bar but there’s nothing divey about the drinks here. Cocktails come in bottle form – the Everleigh’s popular Negroni, Martini, Old Fashioned and Manhattan, and being premixed in bottles means that they are served super quick. There are seven beer taps featuring local and imported craft beer (plus one cider), and several more beers in bottle and can. The spirits selection is, as to be expected when looking at the pedigree of the owners, outstanding. The top whisky and bourbon selection is of particular note, featuring top drops from across the globe, including the several variants of the fabled Pappy Van Winkle. Rare spirits and bottled cocktails are available to take home until 11pm.
This was Heartbreaker in its early days, and was enough to keep us coming back again and again, but since last year it’s stepped up a notch with a hidden hole in the wall pizzeria out the back. Connie’s Pizza (it’s named after Madrusan’s Italian grandmother) offers a simple selection three New York-style pizzas – Cheese, Pepperoni, Sicilian, available whole or by the slice. The ingredients are quality, the flavour top notch, and they’re available right until closing, 3am.
Heartbreaker attracts a mixed crowd, from and after work crowd to alternative and creative types, but the main thing is that everyone is here for a good time, and there’s no attitude from the staff or any of the patrons. Grab your drink, a slice of pizza, program some tunes in the jukebox, and enjoy yourself.
234 Russell Street
Mon – Thu: 5:00pm to 3:00am
Fri – Sat: 12:00pm to 3:00am
Sun: 12:00pm to 1:00am