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Showing posts from February, 2016

Bourke Street Imperial Rooftop

Touted on its website as Melbourne's third-oldest pub, there's no doubting that the Bourke Street Imperial Hotel (2-8 Bourke Street, Melbourne) is old-school. Established in 1858 and boasting red cedar doors of the same age, "the Impy" is one of those comfy drinking holes you tend to forget about, even though you pass it on the tram every day. It's on the corner of Bourke and Spring Streets, right on the 86/96 tram line, and a hop-skip-jump from Parliament Station.

I'd been to the Imperial a few times before. It's an easy meeting point considering its proximity to PT, and a safe haven from the unpredictable Melbourne rain when all you feel like is a drink on the way home. I've watched footy there, sipped wine at their footpath tables when I couldn't get into City Wine Shop, seen comedy upstairs, and even been through a break-up there (meh, not a dramatic one). So when I read that the Imperial was gaining a rooftop bar, I was rather keen to see wh…


Is it, though? So normal it's super normal? I think maybe not.

There are a lot of 'normal' things at Supernormal (180 Flinders Lane, Melbourne) - you go in, get a table (if you're lucky), order food, eat it at said table. But there are a few things that set this restaurant apart.

One is size. Supernormal is quite big for a Melbourne CBD restaurant. There are different sections: a looooong bar (behind which sits the kitchen, and which pretty much runs the length of the restaurant), a line of booth-style tables, a couple of walls hosting tables with bench seating, and stand-alone tables in the middle.

It also has a very high ceiling, which makes the interior feel very spacious and airy. Hard surfaces everywhere do echo the noisy chatter from so many covers, but the space above all the heads helps absorb it.

Another is style. A lot of venues go for an industrial look, but they usually overdo it. Supernormal feels like a big empty warehouse with cement floors, large-scale…