Don’t think you can walk into Laika and start ordering Bundy shots. They’re banned. And there’s a board telling you so. Not that such measures are necessary – it’s obvious from the second you walk into the beautiful, antique-strewn room.
It’s the little things that make this1930s-style cocktail and wine bar great. Straws cut to size so that your nose ends up at perfect inhaling height for aromatic garnishes; hand cut ice; a wine list that includes both pocket friendly options and rare bottles, procured by antiques dealer and owner Boris Kanter, and bartenders who do the table service, ensuring good guidance is always on hand.
We can really see Sinatra liking this bar. A glossy black piano gets its keys tickled into jazzy refrains weekly, and the cocktail list favours your classic Sidecars and Old Fashioneds. There’s even a private stone-walled cellar downstairs, perfect for poker, parties and mob interrogations. Get a Martinez (gin, red vermouth, bitter cherry flavoured maraschino liqueur, and bitters), and admire the arching domed ceilings from a fireside seat. Or you can order a Mai Tai, if you prefer. They make concessions for the bar's beachy St Kilda location. There are tasty snacks if you want to create a makeshift meal – wings, arancini (cheesy risotto balls) and sliders filled with prawns and seaweed salad – then again, you’re only a short walk from the Golden Fields lobster roll.
Laika do sophisticated elegance well. If you're the kind of cat who wears a suit or satin on a Saturday, this is the bar for you.