Fumo Blu used to be a cigar bar, back before cigars and bars were embroiled in a messy legislative divorce. These days, since Fumo doesn’t have a beer garden, the only fumes are likely to be unintentional and suggest imminent danger. Having been stripped of its original purpose, the bar now has a slightly confused demeanour, as though it’s trying to please too many people. Cute old cigar posters still line the walls, and the main decorative feature - a large, stunningly-lit aquarium filled with live fish - still sits between the bar and the corridor leading to the bathrooms. Yet elsewhere in the room, you can watch the Geelong-Collingwood game on plasma screens affixed to the walls. The music bass heavy electo mixes, played at the sort of levels that make us feel for those poor fish. The remaining space is filled with chairs, tables and booths, suggesting that the place is designed for cocktails and conversations, although the pumping beats make it damn-near impossible to keep any social intercourse going for long.
The drinks and the bar staff are both excellent. Our bartender recommends the liquid e, a chocolate-based cocktail he described as a long cowboy, or perhaps the *erainbow shots’ - eight (eight?) shots in eight (eight?) colours - for the handsome price of just $30, but our liver protests and we politely decline. Instead we order the fruity ‘gone in 60 seconds’, with muddled strawberries and passionfruit made to a strictly secret recipe, as are all the house original cocktails. The classics are made to precision so you can order with confidence - try the sweetly exotic Tokyo iced tea or the excellent aviation martini. The bar also offers an impressive range of single malt whiskies and cognacs, as well as cheese platters if you are feeling peckish. There are even toasties available, for those who after a few long cowboys and some pulsing beats, are just crying out for some ham and cheese.