There's an elaborate story involving bootleg vodka stills and a Russian named Leon "Satan" Satanovich behind this throbbing Fitzroy nightspot. Men helping Satan brew his vodka during the Great Depression were said to be getting naked for Satan when they stripped down to endure the heat of the copper stills in summer. Whether it's true or not, the myth is fitting because there's a touch of the fantastical about Brunswick Street bar Naked for Satan, where patrons come for the Pintxos and stay for the infused vodkas.
Spread over three levels, the lush red benches and highly-polished copper trimmings conjure a steampunk aesthetic. As you enter, you are assaulted by food and drink. Wine bottles fill one wall and a buffet-style smorgasbord of Spanish pintxos are displayed along the other. If that isn't decadent enough, the back wall is plastered with pin-ups of half-naked men and women. The fit-out is slick but the polished copper and red trimmings give this sinful speakeasy-inspired bar a warm, welcoming feeling.
The décor maybe shiny and modern, but the inspiration behind the substance of the place - the stuff you're putting in your mouth - is Spain via depression-era Melbourne. The Pintxos - a Basque practice - are bite sized mini-meals served as they are in Spain's north; speared on a toothpick. Costing less than a coffee, the cold Pintxos are mostly slices of baguette topped with meat, fish, jamon or calamari, paired with a slice of tomato or salad shavings and a shellacking of tapenade, pesto or soft cheese. There are also waiters serving trays of hot Pintxos so you don't have to worry about going hungry one you've decamped with a drink and a handful of food.
Like all good north-side bars, Naked for Satan offers a selection of beers a cut above the standard Fosters fare. Thornbury brewery Three Ravens is on the menu alongside South Australia's Beard and Brau. Traditionalists can get Asahi and Stella. Clearly gathering to all tastes, Naked for Satan also serves Melbourne Bitter, if you must.
There is a long list of infused vodkas, with strange and unexpected flavours including violet and alpine chocolate with sugarcane. But it's the Pintxos that truly set Naked for Satan apart from the 7,564 other bars in Melbourne's inner hub.