Welcome to the bar that could ruin your life. Hell Towers Saloon takes the place of infamous lesbian bar Glasshouse, and though consummate bartenders Chris Stock and Jimmy Maitland have replaced the saggy futons with vintage chairs and white-washed over the red, black and purple paint job, we know bad news when it’s looking us in the eye.
They're serving a cocktail called the Turbo Paloma here. It’s a slug of tequila, topped off with a grapefruit Bacardi Breezer, and served in a pint. And as dirty as it sounds, you’ll find Melbourne’s most respected bartenders knocking 'em back here at 4am.
This has become the hospitality hangout of choice, and that means three things: good drinks (Negronis on tap! Requiem pilsner!), bacon butties at any hour and a party that’s pumping all night long. They've
got a 24-hour weekend license and they're not afraid to test the limits.
Cocktails aren’t the main event – the bar set-up is old school and they just don’t have room. Having said that, if you head in early when things are quiet (this bar hits its stride a little later), they’ll make anything you like, so long as you let them put it in a pint glass (the volumetric yardstick here).
This isn't what we'd call a gastropub. You're looking at a menu of bangers, mash and Gravox, double dogs (two wieners, one bun) and the winningly named ‘loose meat roll’ – a white sub filled with a saucy pulled pork mixture and topped with jalapenos. Everything comes with a pickle.
“We’re not classy,” Maitland explains. And the man speaks the truth. The pool room is decorated by a portable heater and the toilets have seen some action. But sometimes what makes a bar great isn’t the booze (though theirs is solid), or the fanciness of the fit-out. It’s bartenders with Good Times as the first item on their agenda, and that’s what you’ll find at Hell Towers Saloon.
Cash-up, clock in, and party till the break of dawn.