Bars and Nightclubs
Melbourne South, Melbourne

The Den

8 Whiteman St, Southbank, VIC
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The Den is a celebration of the ritual of the great cocktail, the pleasure of great bar service and the sheer enjoyment of starting or ending a great evening at the bar. The Den has been devised for every combination of nightcap and late-night rendezvous. An encyclopedic wine list, the city’s top mixologists, DJs and the sexiest glassware in town are all about sophistication, pleasing all the senses and offering our guests a night of escape. All you need to do is find your niche, nook, chaise or stool, settle in and get mixing. Welcome.

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What to Expect @ The Den

Review by Ebony Bowden

The Den is a sophisticated alternative to Melbourne’s thumping nightclubs and vodka raspberry stained laneway bars. Melbourne’s hottest lounge bar and one of the town’s real best kept secrets, The Den’s drink menu is an impeccable collection of spirits and cocktails. Don’t expect to find any Carlton Draught here.

In Melbourne it seems that you could only choose from one of two nights out: the first being an expensive night at one of Melbourne’s thumping nightclubs like Eve, Alumbra or CQ, the second option being to ‘find’ one of Melbourne’s quirky laneway bars such as The Croft Institute, where the Raspberry Vodka still reigns supreme and bar tenders have a chip on their shoulder.

The Den is a different experience altogether. The bartenders (let’s call them mixologists) masterfully create your drink and pour it at your table. The music is first rate, and while getting you in the groove, you’re still able to have a conversation without yelling. The decor is stylish, and looks like something out of a Mad Men episode. A perfect mix of old and new, mismatched books and trophies adorn the walls, while two minimalist gas fires nestled between metal beams dominate the room. Walking into The Den feels like walking into a New York basement bar. Exposed brick walls, plush white couches, mismatched arm chairs and discreet lighting gives the basement an intimate feel, perfect for any occasion.

The best part about this bar is that it is intimate and hidden. Descending down an unassuming staircase in the middle of Crown Casino’s newly unveiled Atlantic restaurant, you suddenly find yourself in one of Melbourne’s best kept secrets and are transported back in time. A baby grand sits in the corner, and on a Thursday night its smooth sounds set the mood for the evening. On Saturday nights a DJ sets up next to the bar and plays 70s classics like Natalie Cole and Al Green.

On a Thursday night, a group of friends has pulled their chairs to the bar to watch the mixologists work their magic, while couples nestle on the couches, comparing their cocktails and warming to the sophisticated gas fires. The Den is suited for a more adult audience, one that takes its drinking seriously and adventurously, and not those who are interested in only getting drunk. Those who are freshly eighteen will not be found here. The focus of The Den is their extensive wine, cocktail and spirit list. This place considers alcohol an art form and encourages you to do the same. The menu cleverly steers you away from beer, which is on the last page, and encourages you to try more high class spirits. Something you can still experience at any age.

The drinks here are reasonably priced and cater to all budgets. Spirits start at around $10, wine $15, while most of the cocktails are $18 to $20. Although, if feeling courageous, you can certainly spend much more. While you can enjoy a standard pitcher of Pimms with lemonade, the cocktails become much more exciting. The Ardbegian Tea Party is a favourite, an alcoholic camomile tea served chilled and in a tea set, peppered with 10 year old scotch. There’s also something for the gentlemen too, with the Cohiba No 23, a cocktail of tobacco infused rum and golden delicious apples.

The Den is the perfect night out and it’s easy to find yourself there until closing time. Visit this slinky playground before the rest of Melbourne does. Kylie Minogue’s already been.

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