Since becoming employed as a cocktail bartender, I spend a truly alarming amount of time in cocktail bars. If I Instagrammed every pretty drink in a pretty glass I consumed, I would be accused of rampant alcoholism, then pelted with AA brochures, bibles and juice detox manuals. So I decided to enlighten Salient‘s readers with my experiences of tottering about aforementioned cocktail bars, neglecting my responsibilities and attempting to emulate a Carrie Bradshaw-esque lifestyle, like the Legally-An-Adult-But-Honestly-Not-Really-An-Adult that I am.
*Disclaimer: I paid for like three of these. Shout out to the menagerie of males who unknowingly funded this venture. You guys are the real MVPs.
I spend a concerning amount of time at Motel for someone who works 9pm–5am both weekend nights. But how could one possibly resist the alluring alliterative Mojito Mondays and Wild Wednesdays? And the fact that the bartenders all spend an uncanny amount of time shirtless? And that at 3am they start playing either bagpipe music or a Thomas The Tank Engine remix of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song?
Wrong Island Iced Tea $20
On 2-for-1 Wednesdays these are the path to enlightenment. (Or at least the path to waking up upside-down in bed with stilettos on, a stolen Briscoes trolley, a date with a bartender and a flatmate potentially requiring hospitalisation.) Incredible value for alcohol content—8/10
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Skinny Dip $14
Tasted like watermelon-flavoured dishwashing detergent—4/10
Overall rating: 9/10
The Arborist Rooftop Bar
The Holy Trinitea jug $17 (split between two—one and a half short glasses each with a fuckton of ice)
Disappointment of a lifetime. I have no idea how a combination of Beefeater 24 (perfect and beautiful gin) and Harney & Sons tea could possibly be made to taste unpleasant but THEY MANAGED. It quite literally tasted like the product of running out of mixer on a public holiday, and getting so desperate that you mix spirits with cold tea because it is that or vodka-water—2/10
Midlife crisis $16
Red wine and rum sangria w/ berry compote, absolute dream. I ordered this whilst hanging out with my mother’s then-boyfriend, the bar staff gave us an extremely bemused look as I realised in horror that I looked like a teenage trophy wife. The gloriousness of the drink almost compensated for the emotional trauma—7.5/10
Overall rating: 6/10
Alice Cocktail & Lounge Bar
Everything on the entire menu is utterly incredible without fail, the bar staff (yours truly inclusive) are all ridiculously attractive, able to do cool stuff with flaming alcohol and possessive of the same deadpan sarcastic demeanour. Also we do an alcoholic pink milkshake, what more could drunk non-vegans possibly want?
The Queen of Hearts $16
A black Doris plum daiquiri, made with REAL LIFE ACTUAL FRUIT, not syrup. Absolutely incredible + surprisingly boozy. (I am unable to apply lipstick straight after only one. I am, however, a tiny human). Added bonus: the brilliant magenta colour also conveniently Instagrams flawlessly without a filter—10/10
March Hare’s Gin Sensation teapot $25 (serves 3–4 humans)
Once more catering to my inner gin aunt, this wondrous concoction comes in a cute little tea set, complete with silver tray and frilly doily, in case your gran wanted a tea break from getting down on the d floor. Also, being a combination of gin, jasmine tea, pineapple juice and peach schnapps, it tastes like Care Bears and rainbows. 8/10
Overall rating: 15/10 (real talks—this was my all time favourite bar well before it paid my rent)
Black Doris Plum Margarita $14; Coconut Margarita $12
Served in tall glasses, which was puzzling? Also sans straws, creating a fun smudged lipstick debacle. Regardless, the Coconut Margarita was absolutely to die for. The Black Doris was pleasant, but tinged with the same kind of disappointment that comes with flirting with a not-that-cute bartender and still having to pay for your drink (this happened).
Overall rating: 7/10
I will never get past the fact that their books are essentially unreadable (“reading room” is a blatant lie) and just for the aesthetic, consisting mostly of outdated textbooks.
New Gypsy Love Potion $18 (Racial slur alert!!!)
Literally tasted like floral nothingness. Promised hint of absinthe was very possibly a single drop in the straw. Total waste of $$$. Unimpressed—4/10
Randy Savage $13
Consumed whilst so inebriated that the guy I was with commented that “it’s a good thing you’re really hot because you’re walking like a baby giraffe”. Regardless, it was lovely, albeit slightly sickeningly sweet. The spiced rim is a nice touch until you accidentally re-enact the Cinnamon Challenge—7/10
Overall rating: 5/10 (Who the fuck makes an Old Fashioned with SUGAR SYRUP?!)
A gin thing. Price unknown. INCREDIBLE. I have only ever been here on the worst Tinder date of my life which has tainted my experience, but their cocktails are an otherworldly experience.
Overall rating: 9/10
Disclaimer: The cocktail menu is a rampant display of racist stereotyping.
Mojo Martini (price unknown, I was rather inebriated)
FANTASTIC, coffee and cocktails are my two favourite edible things on the planet so this was a spectacular experience—7.5/10
Overall rating: 7/10
Plagued by the existential horror that is Monday evening, my flatmate and I decided to #treatyourself to $10 Margarita Monday on the way home from grocery shopping. Big mistake. Packet-mix margaritas with the consistency of service station slushies, which tasted like what I imagine the liquid hand soap in public bathrooms to.
Overall rating: 2/10