Melbourne CBD's new late night bar and club is at home in the old Lounge space on Swanston Street.
Radar Bar and Nightclub has some pretty big shoes to fill, taking over the space that was once home to legendary live music venue Lounge for almost 30 years. But if anyone can do it justice and deliver Melbourne a cracking new home for independent music, it's new owners hospitality group Cast of Falcons.
Adding to a stable of popular haunts that includes Section 8, Ferdydurke, The B.East and Globe Alley, the team has reopened the Swanston Street site, setting out to deliver a winning mix of diverse tunes, booze and late-night fun.
The team has given the space a quick overhaul, with a fit-out that's a little more grown-up than its predecessor, yet still laidback and comfy. The DJ booth has been relocated and lowered to open up the room, while plush green curtains and banquettes have created a series of cosy nooks for camping out between sets. A Funktion One sound system and lighting from acclaimed studio John Fish help bring things to life. And, of course, that stellar balcony remains, primed for the warmer afternoons to come.
The music offering is set to be an eclectic one, spread across a considered program of regular club nights and ticketed gigs. From hip hop and techno to funk and jazz, it'll all be getting a workout at Radar.
A slew of well-known labels and music collectives are joining in the fun, with the likes of 1800 Tequila's Thursday hip hop night and a weekly Friday party digging into deep French house and techno. You'll catch a loaded calendar of gigs with plenty of international names pencilled in for later this year, too.
In a similar spirit, independent labels reign supreme across the drinks list, headlined by a solid rotation of craft brews that currently includes the likes of Hop Nation's The Chop IPA, the Juicy NEIPA from 3 Ravens and Bad Shepherd's pilsner. You'll spy an organic-heavy wine selection peppered with plenty of French drops, like Goisot's 2017 aligoté from Burgundy.
A crafty range of signature cocktails includes drinks like the caffeine-charged Black Mamba — a blend of 1800 coconut tequila, cold drip, coffee liqueur and orange bitters — and a couple of house tap cocktails will be joining the lineup soon. A food offering is slated to launch later this year, too, once the kitchen has had a revamp of its own.
Images: Julia Sansone.