MELBOURNE | Eight years in the making, located in the basement of ANZ’s recently refurbished 1887 Gothic Revival building, you’ll find Purple Pit. Named for the nightclub in the 1963 Jerry Lewis comedy, The Nutty Professor, Purple Pit is a cocktail bar that reflects the personalities of its two owners, Joe Jones and Maurice Terzini.
Walk past the velvet rope and down the stairs, and you’re greeted with a stark, cavernous space inspired by Europe’s grand hotel bars, with a divey twist, and Joe and Maurice’s love of post-punk music. It’s dark, brutalist, classy, and alternative, all in one. Confused, some may say, but all done with purpose. The longer you spend in the space, the more it makes sense.
The cocktail list focuses on drinks that taste like the flavours that they’re supposed to taste like. If you’re a fan of Jones’ previous venue, Romeo Lane, you’ll be happy to know that its spirit (and some of the drinks) lives on in the menu.
A twist on the classic Bellini, replaces the usual peach nectar/puree with peach essence and burnt honey vodka. A red wine cocktail, the name of which escapes me, is particularly enjoyable, evoking memories enjoying sangria in Madrid basement bar Las Cuevas De Sesamo. There’s also a sharp wine list with a focus on Champagne, and some quality local craft beers and non-alco options.
For food, it’s a snack-focused that’s as eclectic as the space itself. There’s things like oysters, and a ‘Big Mac’ inspired calzone, and tomato tartare with shio koji. It’s been described as food that pairs as well as the music as it does with the food, which makes sense when you visit.
B1, 380 Collins Street
Tue – Sat: 5:00pm to 1:00am