Bars and Nightclubs
Melbourne CBD, Melbourne

1806 Cocktail Bar

169 Exhibition St, Melbourne, VIC
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1806 is the year that the word cocktail was first defined in print, and the bar, 169 Exhibition St Melbourne, is about all things cocktails, especially the history of the amazing creations we sip every day. 1806 houses a collection of vintage cocktail shakers, equipment and of course our award Winning cocktail list. The cocktail list is as historically correct as possible and follows a time-line over the last two hundred years, capturing the essence of each decade and what people were drinking. The bar has a drink for everyone. Whether it is an original Bittered Sling, the chosen drink of sophisticated business-men in 1806, or from 1916 a Martini, we make our's with your choice of vodka or gin, with a dash of bitters, and a slightly larger than normal dash of vermouth. Come in and taste what your great, great, great, great, great, great grand-parents might have drunk! One of our signature cocktail's is finally back the Aviation.

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1806 Cocktail Bar Review

Review by Heather Bloom

1806 was the year the word cocktail was penned, and in the past 200 years we have come a long way since history's alchemists first began distilling drinks, evolving into the modern day sensation and temptation of a new Melbourne hotspot. Melt into the delicious allure of exotic cocktails and be seduced by the heady mix of strong alcohol, gorgeous decor and excellent service.

Arriving at 1806 there was a moment of pause as I remembered I had been here many years before when it had been Club UK. However, as I pushed my way through the heavy door I was greeted with a very different type of bar. Gone was the cover charge and the noisy backpackers; in its place were delicate tables and comfy couches. 1806 oozed sophistication at every turn.

What is most impressive - and what 1806 prides itself on - is the extensive cocktail list set out in chronological order from the year the cocktail was invented, and the bars namesake. The menu is intricately researched and the bartenders know their Manhattan from their Bronx. Most of the cocktails are set at $17 with the exception of the Scorpion Bowl which comes in at $74 (designed to share with three friends). Brimming with three types of rum, gin, white wine, fresh mint and tropical juice and served in a traditional Tiki Bowl, the many straws will have everyone taking a sip of this tasty mix.

Also home to the classics, if you fancy a Mint Julep, Tom Collins, or Martini you won't be lost for choice in this bar. If you like it hot, prepare to be dazzled by 1806's fiery concoctions. The Black Blazer is perfect for a cold winter's eve as the award winning Inner circle navy Proof dark rum is ignited and mixed with organic black chocolate for the perfect smoky taste.

You'll also find a long list of local and imported beers ($7-78), champagnes (prices starting from $16 a flute), American Whiskey as well as top shelf vodka's and gin (anywhere between $9-$80).

The food menu isn't huge, but perfectly satisfactory to pair with your Mai Tai or Rum Shrub. While you sip, you can nibble on a toasted vegetable Ciabatta ($12), or decadent cheese plate ($22).

There is everything to love at 1806, from the five star service and knowledgeable staff to the incredible cocktails constantly surpassing my every expectation; this is truly an experience not to be missed.

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A Second Review of 1806 Cocktail Bar

Review by Teresa Dodaro

Should their private club membership ever expire, the elegant and stylish ambience of 1806 would provide ample consolation to, and even satisfy, the high standards of Darcy and Bingley.

As a cocktail pessimist tired of mediocre blends (with trees inserted as a garnish), 1806 promptly flung me back into the cocktail world I had long abandoned in favour of prosecco and wine. Situated, of course, in Melbourne (albeit on one of the less charming streets), 1806 transports you to a bygone glam era with its dimly lit room adorned with crystal chandeliers, red velvet and vintage lounges. On approaching this charming venue, don’t let the unfortunate neon lights on Exhibition Street deter you: hang on to your pearls and keep walking and you’ll be rewarded.

Whilst Melbourne boasts many bars and clubs with a similar vintage style, 1806 stands out from the rest on account of its extensive and historically inspired cocktail list, suavely presented in a small leather bound like volume, with cocktails sorted from the 1600s, continuing to my preferred glam era of the 1920s, and right through to the 1980s (an era which sadly embraced Bacardi). For those inclined to a little study between cocktails, each section provides a brief historical excerpt on the cocktails and preferred liquors of the period. However, beware vodka enthusiasts or any unfortunate souls inclined toward Midori drinks with umbrellas: being a vintage establishment, gin is the preferred (although not exclusive) cocktail liquor of choice, yet I defy any lady who is not passionately converted on her first sip of the Clover Club – a fluffy pink miracle presented in a stylish vintage crystal glass.

In true Melbourne style, 1806 manages to exude elegance without the pretence which would without doubt accompany any Sydney equivalent. Open 7 days, it provides an escape from the dreaded “Sunday feel” for those annoyingly relaxed individuals who are happy to venture out on a Sunday night.

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