Fit For a Post-Lockdown Tipple: Melbourne’s New, Luxe, 1930s-Inspired Champagne Bar

Originally published in Delicious.

The latest offering by The Speakeasy Group is straight out of an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel and you’re guaranteed to have a swell old time.

Meet Nick & Nora

To enter Nick and Nora’s is to step back in time, a space swept in art deco detail – an ode to the 30s and Hollywood’s golden age. Think champagne towers, caviar, charcuterie and cocktails. It’s ideal for an after-work tipple, date night, or groups treating themselves to an evening of old-meets-new luxury. Nick and Nora’s is the latest venue from The Speakeasy Group, the same minds behind Mjølner, Eau de Vie and Boilermaker House. Each touchpoint of the theatrical experience, from dining to design, is considered to the nth degree.

Who are Nick & Nora?

“A fictional detective couple from the 1930s,” according to co-owner Greg Sanderson. “Here, it’s meant to feel like you’re arriving at their house. At a 1930s post-prohibition soiree – ready to party.”

The food

You could start with some oysters; natural or with lemon myrtle mignonette. Or, some vermouth-soaked olives. Larger dishes include a brioche lobster roll and lamb tartare with macadamia cream. Pickled cherries grace the dessert menu, balanced with coconut sorbet, finished with a chocolate and olive crumb. Charcuterie is also available.

The drinks

“Nick and Nora loved Champagne, cocktails and whisky, so that’s what we focus on,” Sanderson said. A hallway of fridges filled with Champagne greets diners – with enough space for 400 bottles. “Yes, we’ve got expensive, amazing Champagnes, but more accessible ones, too.” Whiskys and cognacs are available by the glass or in flights, while the wine list confidently trots the globe. The bar itself features four cocktail stations and three liquid nitrogen tanks, otherwise known as a barman’s dream. The 33-strong cocktail list may challenge the indecisive. The French Cannon caught our eye – gin, bay leaf, yuzu, elderflower, French white wine and passionfruit pearls.

The interiors

Conceived by Studio Y (a favourite design firm of The Speakeasy Group), Nick and Nora’s has a variety of lavish settings offering different dining experiences. “Each section is named after a traditional area of a home. There’s the salon with table dining, the semi-private cellar, the parlour – full of bar stools – and the larger lounge.” Three terrace areas complete the venue. Soft furnishings, art deco-patterned floors, walls and ceilings, and portraits of Nick and Nora themselves define the space. In a normal, non-restricted world, the venue can seat 240 people.

Getting there

Nick & Nora’s is located at 80 Collins Street, Melbourne, with the entrance at 11 Benson Walk. It opens Thu to Sun, 5pm – 12am. For more details, head to nickandnoras.com.au.

Images: supplied.

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