Arlechin – An After Dark Melbourne Wine and Cocktail Bar

A European-inspired late night Melbourne wine and cocktail bar Arlechin captures the heartbeat of the city – elegant, understand and discreetly cool without having to utter a word.

 

Helmed by bar venue manager Russell Branford, he was lured back to the big smoke after working at Lakehouse in Daylesford. Now, he’s driving the innovative cocktails and wine list at Guy Grossi’s hospitality renaissance venue; and a mere stone’s throw from the iconic Grossi Florentino.

Owner Guy Grossi and Venue + Bar Manager Russell Branford

Arlechin is not so easy to find, but that’s what makes it all the more appealing for those seeking a discreet slice of Melbourne laneway hide and seek culture. Walk halfway up Mornane Lane and you see it on your left-hand side; perforated glass blurs it from view, yet a small sign indicates you have arrived at this vaulted industrial beauty.

Designed by Six Degrees, there’s slabs of marble and textured wooden tables, industrial nods that bring functionality to the interiors, and walls are stacked with Grossi’s wine collection; hints of stained glass add to the ambience within.

This is where you’ll find classic cocktails and those with a twist – carefully premeditated to give you a reason to come back. There’s hard-to-find spirits that make it an drawcard too for those who looking for after-dark libations to chase.

Arlechin is bringing back quality and elegance to the late-night hospitality scene,” says Russell Branford.

“We welcome guests to stop by for midnight spaghetti, a snack or something more substantial and, of course, drinks,” he adds.

All of the cocktails are made using a premium selection of ingredients and infused in-house using various techniques.

“It’s all about the science and special processes which enhance the appearance and texture of a cocktail whilst maintaining its flavour profile,” says Branford.

“For example, we make olio di pomodoro [tomato oil] in house for our Puttanesca Martinez. This involves semi-dehydrating tomatoes until they have a leather texture, then blitzing them with a bit of heat and straining the juice out so you’re left with this beautiful aromatic flavour which is faint in colour,” says Branford.

Puttanesca Martinez cocktail pairs with a serve of midnight spaghetti. Photography by Mark Chew.

It’s weird science that hits the right notes when it comes to cocktail clever.

“We certainly cater to classics too,” he adds. “But expect them to be tweaked for extra deliciousness. If you order a Gimlet, the gin will be infused with lime leaf and we will use lime oil syrup in place of plain sugar.”

Russell Branford talks to The Write Drop for our At The Bar series.

MY CITY

Melbourne

FAVOURITE FOOD MEMORY

Dinner at the Lake House Daylesford but I actually have many favourite food memories, most of which are from dinners I have cooked myself.

FAVOURITE BAR

Black Pearl Fitzroy.

DRINK THAT DESCRIBES YOU

Dry gin Martini with a twist.

BEST HANGOVER CURE

Whisky and coke.

FAVOURITE WINE

2016 Weinbach Theo Riesling. I purchased this for my sister’s birthday and we drank it together, it was sublime.

FAVOURITE WINERY

Islander Estate Winery on Kangaroo Island, South Australia.

NEXT DESTINATION

As a young teenager, I had the opportunity to visit Japan, and ever since, I have wanted to experience it again as an adult. The food and culture truly captured me. One aspect I have yet to explore is the vibrant bar scene, and Japan’s nightlife.

sugar,” he says.

WHAT’S MELBOURNE THROUGH AND THROUGH AT ARLECHIN

Aside from being located on a laneway in the heart of the CBD, we have an innovative and carefully crafted cocktail list using unique ingredients. Melbourne bars are typically known for creativity, so there is often a story behind the creation (like our Puttanesca Martinez) or featuring local producers. Additionally, we have a well-curated wine list featuring both local and international wines, reflecting Melbourne’s strong wine culture.

WHAT TO DRINK AT ARLECHIN

Melbourne Sake which is Australia’s first craft sake brewery. Their mission is all about crafting distinctly Australian sake, with Australian ingredients. They’ve been producing sake since 2021 and the bottle we stock is their fourth vintage.

Yamanashi de Grace, a red Bordeaux blend made in Japan just west of Tokyo. This is a very special wine which includes a native Japanese grape varietal known as ‘Muscat Bailey A’.

Cotes de Tablas Blanc, a northern Rhone blend from California. This is a 2015 vintage so it has a bit of bottle age to boast. Predominantly Viognier, this a by-the-glass option you won’t see very often.

A WINTER MUST-TRY

Per Robino; This is one of our listed signatures. It has a whiskey base and is smoked with maple wood and misted with absinthe. This cocktail is like a big warm hug.

HOW TO PAIR LIKE A PRO AT ARLECHIN

Eat + Drink: Midnight Spaghetti with a Puttanesca Martinez.

Midnight Spaghetti is good at any ungodly hour. Pic by Mark Chew.

Sweet + Drink: Tiramisu with a nip of the Ben Nevis LMDW 15th anniversary 8-year-old scotch whiskey.

www.arlechin.com.au

Negroni; photograph by Mark Chew.

Open every Wednesday to Sunday 5.30pm to 1am.

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