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Lily Blacks

A glamorous 1920s speakeasy that exudes a little extra cheek.
By Amy Collins
January 20, 2013
By Amy Collins
January 20, 2013

Have you ever wanted to have the choice between 160 different bitters? If your answer is yes, we're here to tell you that Lily Blacks is your bar. Tucked into Meyers Place off the top end of Bourke Street, this little gem means business.

Lily's is run by Lachlan McAllister and the team behind many a great Melbourne bar, including recent Smith Street addition Mr Wow's Emporium. Like all of McAllister's venues, anyone and everyone is welcome to sip a tipple with Lily. In the early hours of the evening, you'll find yourself rubbing shoulders with the after-work crowd, and the hospo crew often pop in for a pre- or post-shift beverage, too.

Lily's channels 1920s glamour and exudes that speakeasy vibe with a little extra cheek. When it comes to the drinks list, aside from the wall of bitters, they pride themselves on knowing a thing or two about gin. On their cocktail list classics sit comfortably next to original creations that are all carefully labelled with their key flavour: sweet, dry, boozy, tall, sweet, sour, and bitter are all descriptions you'll have to choose from. Try Lily's decadent Eton Mess made up of Larios gin, lavender, strawberries and fresh lime ($18). Or perhaps stick with something stronger, like the Japanese Cigar made from Courvoisier VS Cognac, Ardbeg Whisky, Hickory-smoked Orgeat, and bitters ($18).

If the trusty Old Fashioned is your thing, however, it's time to get excited. There are six on the menu, with an array of weird and wonderful bitters. Try Matusalem clasico rum with Bob's chocolate and house-made cinnamon and fig bitters ($19).

Taking care of the beer and wine drinkers among us, craft brews like the Hawthorn pale ale is on tap ($6 a pot), and you can get a Bai Ha Noi from Vietnam ($10) by the bottle. Eight wines are available by the glass — two sparklings, three white, and three red. If you're in a celebratory mood, you can also splurge by getting the Bollinger 2002 by the bottle ($295).

And if Lily Blacks wasn't already enough fun, they also run monthly Iron Bartender competitions, where Melbourne's finest bartenders go head to head in an Iron Chef-inspired battle of the shakers. Secret ingredients and an enthusiastic crowd are guaranteed to follow.

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