Impress your best girl, or guy, with a high-toned night at this classic cocktail bar
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Welcome to the Everleigh – home of the cocktail elite. You won’t find better shaken or stirred drinks in Melbourne than at this Gertrude Street speakeasy. That’s just a fact. This is Michael Madrusan’s joint, and the man doesn’t mess around. He tips his hat to the jazzy golden era of bartending, when ice was hewn from giant blocks, hair was slick, and four ingredient cocktails were king. The menu is short, sharp and classic: Champagne, a couple of expressions of Blanton’s, a handful of Daiquiris, and the wildcard bartender’s choice. No vodka. Everything is just so. A Whisky Freezer of Scotch, lime, sugar and mint is built with soda over a perfect column of ice. It’s the best almost-Mint Julep you’ve ever had. It will likely be made for you by Alistair Walker – a pommie repository of drinks skill and entertaining facts. Get him to make you a Mary Pickford. It’s a tarty little number of fresh pineapple juice, light rum and Maraschino. Unless you know your posse well, the candlelit booths can be a little intimate. Chin up, though, because next door Madrusan has opened the Elk Room: a wonderland of peacock feathers, deer busts and Chesterfields if you want to sprawl. This isn’t a place for picking up or dancing on tables. It’s table service only, and carousing ain’t allowed. But if good drinks excite you, you’re in for a fistful of fun.