Now Open: New Basement Bar Castlerose Is Giving Luxury Supper Club Energy Beneath South Melbourne's Clementine

Treat yourself to some old-world luxury — sipping on fine champagne and biting into some playfully made confit duck cigars at the bar.
Andrew Zuccala
February 20, 2024

Glen Bagnara knows a thing or two about opening a treasured neighbourhood bar, as one of the minds behind Hemingway's Wine Room and Prahran's Bar Bianco. For this next trick, he's transformed the basement beneath his daytime diner Clementine to create a moodier and altogether more playful bar: Castlerose.

The new bar is giving luxury hidden underground European bar energy. After entering via a black spiral staircase found towards the edge of Clementine, you'll find a small dark room filled with a few intimate leather banquettes, timber tables and stools by the black marble-topped bar. Architect Co:Aika has also subtly added in design features from the early to mid 20th century, imparting an elegant old-world feel that's also reflected in the food and drink offerings.

Castlerose underground bar in South Melbourne

Fine champagne is served in vintage-style coupe glasses. Classic European cocktails come in intricate stemware. An old-school cheese cart is wheeled around for anyone who wants to handpick wedges of local and imported cheeses that'll change regularly.

But the most playful aspects of the dining experience are those with supper club touches. It's that themed and immersive kind of dining that always puts a smile on diners' dimly lit faces. At Castlerose, the confit duck comes wrapped up like a cigar, served in a wooden cigar box with an ashtray of olive dust. And the duck rillettes come in a sealed tin, ready to be peeled open and enjoyed with fig jam, cornichons and slices of toasted baguette.

Castlerose underground bar in South Melbourne

Head Chef David Yuan is making these fun dishes, but isn't depending too much on theatrics. Beneath it all, he's serving up classic European fare that leans more on the luxury end of the dining spectrum. Think: wagyu steaks, lobster rolls and top-quality charcuterie.

With the introduction of Castlerose, Clementine regulars can keep things going beyond its daytime opening hours, sneaking downstairs for a little late-night luxury.

Castlerose underground bar in South Melbourne

Castlerose underground bar in South Melbourne

Castlerose underground bar in South Melbourne

Castlerose underground bar in South Melbourne

Find Castlerose at 67 Palmerston Crescent, South Melbourne, open Wednesday–Saturday from 4pm till late. For more information, head to the venue's website.

Images: Alex Squadrito.

Published on February 20, 2024 by Andrew Zuccala
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