Fun fact: during the 1870s, the Southgate precinct played host to a giant wooden waterslide and amusement park. The well-dressed citizens of Melbourne would be willingly loaded, fully clothed, into wooden shoots and sent hurtling down into the Yarra. Who would have known? And now, some 150 years later, a new Southgate bar is paying homage to this interesting moment in time — but thankfully it's a much more sophisticated venue, where you can wet your whistle without actually getting wet.
Waterslide is all about luxury and good times. Opulent decor, attentive and friendly table service and well-dressed clientele make this bar stand out in the already bustling Southgate precinct. A wide variety of beers are available on tap with a special keg of seasonal beer changing throughout the year. We were pleasantly surprised to find a strong focus on local craft beers, along with a top-notch wine list and a full back bar of spirits.
However, it's the signature cocktail list that's the crowning jewel of the bar. Created with Melbourne's temperamental weather in mind, there are seasonal drinks perfect for the coldest nights or the brightest of days. We recommend the Name in Lights: a tasty blend of Pampero Blanco rum, passionfruit, fresh lime, pho spices and Vietnamese mint ($17). If you're a purist and looking for a classic cocktail to ease into the night, then make sure you order a Blinker with rye whisky, fresh grapefruit juice and house-made grenadine ($17). In fact, the majority of syrups used at Waterslide are made in-house — just another level of detail the bar brings to the table.
A considered bar snack menu is available, offering market fish carpaccio ($18), charcuterie platters ($21) and even a decadent Cuban sandwich ($14.50) of roast pork, ham, Gruyère cheese, mustard and pickles. This, along with the stunning view over the Yarra and Melbourne's magnificent skyline, make Waterslide's outdoor balcony seating a hot commodity. It's also well-heated for those chilly winter nights.
With views like this, we're not surprised that the bar is fast becoming the new after work drinks venue or fancy date bar of choice along the river. These days, there's no actual waterslide on-site, but you're bound to have just as much — if not more — fun at Waterslide Bar.