Time Out Melbourne

The views are jaw-dropping, and so are the cocktail-making smarts

Out to impress? Then swoosh up to the ear-popping 55th floor of the Rialto. No, we're not suggesting you drop a week's pay on dinner at Vue de Monde, but rather take a sharp left towards the bar. Here, among overstuffed lounges and flouncy lampshades, shiny folk sip Martinis as Melbourne twinkles below.

It takes a knockout food-and-drink offering to distract from that view. Fortunately, Lui is more than up to the task, with an Australian-accented selection that is deferential, rather than tongue-in-cheek. Polished staff take orders at the table, and may even prepare your drink there, too. There’s a sense of theatre to the Vodka Pour Over, a slow-drip assembly of Belvedere Vodka and single-estate coffee, which takes the cake as Melbourne’s finest Espresso Martini.

Bar manager Michael Calamante considers himself something of a mad scientist, so behind the bar there’s a stack of high-tech wizardry at play, such as sous vide machines for fat-washing and a Rotovap – the only one of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, this rotary evaporator re-stills premium spirits, for added clarity and purity. It’s all fertile, fun ground for newcomer Jenna Hemsworth (ex Bad Frankie), who’s scooped up Time Out's Hot Talent award, and was a finalist in the World Class competition. Here, among the pricey gadgets and hoshizaki ice, she’s whipping up Leatherwood Old Fashioneds and Velvet Rotor Macadamia Martinis, which mix macadamia fat-washed vodka with vaporised butter.

As you'd expect from Shannon Bennett’s kitchen, the bar snacks are A-grade, though they come with a price. There’s a $15 bowl of nuts and olives, right through to a 30g jar of Beluga caviar at a cool $210. Better value can be found in the chickpea fries, fried chicken and marron brioche rolls. But remember: you’re here for a good time, not a long time, so splash out on a couple of rounds, and then ride the elevator back down to reality.

Updated on 8 Dec 2015.

By Sarah Gamboni   |  

The Lui Bar details

Address
The Rialto, Lvl 55
525 Collins St, Melbourne 3000

Telephone 03 9691 3888

Transport
Nearby Stations: Southern Cross

Price per person including drinks $51 to $100

Open Mon-Wed 5.30pm-midnight; Thu noon-1am; Fri, Sat noon-3am; Sun noon-midnight

The Lui Bar website

The Lui Bar map

Report a problem with this page

Restaurants and bars nearby

Hare and Grace

Hare and Grace straddles the divide of the traditional steak house and a...

Merchant Restaurant

72m - Celebrity chef Guy Grossi's restaurant in the financial district focuses on...

Mr Mason

84m - Come experience rustic French dining at its best. Save a few classics, the...

Paloma Bar

95m - Looking for a place to enjoy a few good drinks, accompanied by some good...

More restaurants and bars nearby

Other venues nearby

Cloud Nine

47m - Cloud 9 is a Saturday night magnet for dance music fiends looking for the...

York Butter Factory

48m - The York Butter Factory is a heritage listed building now utilised as a...

Geddes Lounge

67m - Geddes Lounge has a retro feel and three separate levels each one catering...

More venues nearby
Oak and Vine

Oak and Vine

A restaurant that pays tribute to Victoria's produce growers and suppliers

Readers' comments, reviews, hints and pictures

Community guidelines

blog comments powered by Disqus

Get the Time Out weekend planner. Straight to your inbox, every Thursday.
Read more

×