Loop Roof is Melbourne’s newest al fresco drinking deck, vying for your affections with an arsenal of foliage, ’90s hip hop and botanical booze
You may know Loop – the casual Meyers Place art-space-cum-bar popular with students. But things are a little different on its new rooftop terrace. While downstairs you might be drinking pints and watching documentaries made on the smell of an oily rag, upstairs it’s all sunshine, hip hop and flowery drinks in watering cans. The place is liberally planted with creepers and vines, and dangling with baubles. Booths are fashioned from pale wood, and benches curve around tall garden beds. They’ve even got a night-blooming cactus.
Cut a path to the tiled bar where Josh Crawford (last seen slinging Piña Coladas at the Rum Diary) is shaking up a botanical storm. Unless you’re a sucker for sweet thangs, best go straight for a dark spirited Cardboard Plane combining bourbon, Aperol, Amaro Montenegro, lemon juice and Pedro Ximenez. The rest are fruity, flowery cocktails built for balmy nights.
You might start with an Apricot and Walnut Spritz: the bubbles and Aperol-based cocktail is a tall order of sugar and fizz, going heavy on the apricot nectar, with walnut syrup adding a second nutty sugar jab. Hard iced teas are a nice idea. The Black Rose sees the mix of reposado tequila, black rose tea, pomegranate molasses and elderflower liqueur punctuated by a basil and petal-flecked iceberg. Together they taste like a boozy bubblegum ice-block, which has its charms, though it’s a little flabby for us.
Loop is more of a fun bar than a place of serious cocktail nerdery – somewhere to get three sheets to the wind on Lord Nelson pale ale with a handful of pals and some seafood-focused snacks. Speaking of, deep-fried school prawns come with a yolky dill mayonnaise – they’re essentially chips-with-eyes. Marinated baby octopus served with a curried egg and capers is an unexpectedly excellent ’80s detour.
Arriving anytime after six will see you parked in some shrubbery with punters (and smokers) jealously guarding their ledge-side seat. Everyone’s eating snow cones soaked in gin, lemon and ginger syrup and pouring shared drinks from watering cans into terracotta pots. It’s good playful fun, and while serious drinkers may consider $19 better spent at Lily Blacks (house of bitters and hand cut ice) across the alley, you just can’t beat that view.