In a quiet pocket of High Street is Whaler, a new neighbourhood bar for those who don't want to fight for a table in a overflowing bar on Chapel Street, but would rather sit down with a calm drink and some food around the corner.
Though Whaler is petite, it's fit for all occasions. Understated and sleek, the well thought-out space has plenty of places to sit or stand. You can huddle around the bar, settle down in one of the booths with a small group, or seat yourself at a tall table, perfect for pairs.
Whaler has outdoor seating, too, if you'd prefer to sip your drink in the cool winter's air. The interiors combine rustic white brick, dark timber furniture and cerulean panels — which colour feature walls, making for a character-filled space. There's also a DJ booth for local acts to show their musical flair.
The bar is deeper than first meets the eye, with a large table for a large group out the back near the kitchen. Speaking of the kitchen, Whaler produces everything from small bites to bigger plates, inspired by traditional dishes and flavours of South America and soul food from the southern American states.
Pickled cucumber chips with buffalo sauce ($8), pea and pomegranate guacamole ($10) and ceviche ($13) are all on offer. If you're after something more substantial, look to the Tennessee-style rye berry succotash ($13), plates of fried chicken with blue-cheese sauce ($28) and perhaps the most decadent dish on the menu – 12-hour slow-cooked pork ribs with apple and fennel slaw ($28). If you want comfort food that looks as good as it tastes, Whaler is the place to go.
When it comes to drinks, cocktails reign here. The bar has invented ten signatures, with the house favourite being The Blacker the Berry ($15), which combines Campari, whisky and blackberry-infused vermouth. There are also craft beers on tap if you'd prefer, including Sample, Young Henrys and Grapefruit IPA, as well as a lineup of local and European wines.
Whether you're in for a quick drink before continuing onto Chapel Street, or planning a lengthy visit — Whaler is worthy pit stop in Prahran.
Images: Julia Sansone