This inner-city bar is kooky, kitsch and a lot of fun
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Madame Brussels is the flirty parlour bar that sits above Collins Street’s Akuza lounge like a frilly debutante with a whole lot of sass. It’s in this place of AstroTurf and garden furniture that you’ll find an exclusively good-looking staff wearing vintage tennis gear and throwing around Pimms cups, sausage rolls and winks. It’s the kind of joint where wearing fur or a suit isn’t just allowed but encouraged. Big jugs of fruity cocktails are being consumed everywhere you look on the terrace – and they’re a great option if you’ve got a big group and a long summer afternoon ahead. Personally, we find they get a little wishy-washy in the sun, and prefer thematically appropriate Martinis, or bottles of rosé and bubbles. It’s a sharp list, put together by the outrageous, fabulous owner, Miss Pearls. It’s been seven years since she and partner Vernon Chalker opened this bar (a milestone that Pearls celebrated by jumping out of a giant cake), and they’ve consistently kept the place pumping by sweating the details. They offer blankets, fondue and hot spiced rum in winter. If you ask nicely, they’ll even give you a hot water bottle. Sure, there’s an element of tweeness to it all, but this isn’t a bar you come to for discussing fiduciary matters. It’s about fun. And they serve that by the bucketload.