Bars and Nightclubs
Fitzroy, Melbourne

Black Pearl

304 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, VIC
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A suave low-key cocktail lounge on weeknights, Black Pearl heaves on the weekend. In its quieter moments, this bar sees locals propping up the bar (to watch the bar staff swing a cocktail around as they offer chit-chat), lounging in the various sofas or perching on an ottoman. Come alone, or bring your posse; it doesn’t matter at Black Pearl.

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Black Pearl Review

Written by Michaela Scully

There are so many bars in Fitzroy, finding a shortlist for the night can be a laborious task. But if you’re on a date, going for after-work drinks, or simply trying to impress an ‘old mate’ from out of town who is (resentfully) progressing slightly better in their career than you, The Black Pearl is worth the stop.

Not to be confused with the famous ship from a certain cult-popular Pirate film in the early 2000s, Black Pearl is a bar and lounge tucked away on Brunswick Street. Warm and dimly lit, Black Pearl checks points for comfort and sophistication for its chesterfield armchairs, mahogany décor and Southern Bluesy soundtrack.

It’s seven o’clock on a Saturday night, and it’s not that busy. Small groups of young professionals and couples quietly talk along the sides, with a more secluded area at the end of the room aligned with drapes for the larger group.

It’s the kind of atmosphere that has me nervously trying to recall my Netbank balance as I approach the bar, but to my sweet, Uni-student relief, drinks here are much more affordable than I expected. Starting off with a dark and stormy (spiced with fresh ginger and lemon zest), at ten dollars it goes well beyond the standard Johnny-and-coke combination usually inflicted on the Melbourne patron for the same price. Cocktails reached twenty dollars, which were also well worth the cost but after drinking a couple I was well content to return to the ‘basics’ that tasted like a cocktails themselves. Black Pearl specialises in wide, curated array of whiskeys, rums and scotches, making it a sure choice of beverage for the evening.

Black Pearl also features a second, swankier bar and dining area called ‘the Attic’ that lives up to its name with high, timber-exposed ceiling beams and a large arch window overlooking Brunswick Street. If you get there early enough, you can score a table without reservation. Here, things get a little more formal with a larger menu, table service and a doorbell to ring on entry. The bar staff are professional and friendly, and are more than willing to recommend their personal favourites without the awkwardness of upselling their most expensive bottle of champagne – always a plus!

After sneaking in a cigarette in the enclosed smoking balcony (that’s distant enough to avoid passersby looking at you like a leper), by the time we head downstairs at 10pm, the place is packed! Black Pearl closes at 3am most nights, and is a hotspot for local hospo staff on Brunswick Street to chill out with a late knock-off drink.

Comfortable and with a delightful attention to detail in style and menu, swing by the Black Pearl around 10pm and sink into an armchair with a scotch or three.

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