Stokehouse City has followed in the footsteps of the former Stokehouse St Kilda Beach which you will recall was a little bit fancy upstairs and housed the much more chilled-out Stokehouse Cafe below. Now, after a year, the CBD establishment has let its hair down to introduce Stoke Bar + Kitchen downstairs.
The fit-out is the evil twin to the interiors of the upstairs space with black ombre painted walls, a crumbling cellar-view room and a moodier after-dark vibe (though they are happy to let you tippling during daylight hours). Venue manager Bryce Hughes describes Stoke’s laissez faire attitude: “make it what you want it to be. So come in after work for a drink, or during the day, or at 11 in the morning – I won’t judge! Stay on, have a couple of nibbles at the bar or, if you want to stay for a longer time, have a more substantial meal. It’s all about making the menu and the experience what you guys want it to be.”
Stoke is one of the few forward-thinking bars to shun the seemingly Melbourne standard $18-$21+ cocktail list. Their signature drink the ‘Jose Julios’ is a very-happy-purse-making 11 bucks. It’s a refreshingly perky mix of cucumber and jalapeno-infused tequila and lime salt. In fact, most of Stoke’s cocktails average under $14. The only outlier is the rather regal Golden Girl ($30) a vanilla citrus twist on a classic champagne cocktail made with Veuve Clicquot. And sometimes you just need to be a little bit fancy.
Get Stoked at 7 Alfred Place, Melbourne.