The Grace Darling team heads underground for drinks
“It’s under the NAB… Yes! The corner of Collins and Exhibition… No! Go in the back way… Down the steps!”
Finding Strange Wolf – a city basement bar from the brains behind the Grace Darling Hotel – is half the fun. Keep an eye out for the inconspicuous rope railing down Strachan Lane. It’s the only thing marking the entrance.
Why ‘Strange Wolf’? On the advice of the bartender, we Googled it. According to UrbanDictionary.com, strange wolf is slang for being desperate for sex. Perhaps the owners named the bar accordingly so they can snigger when patrons declare, exhausted, “I’ve been looking for Strange Wolf all night!”
Formerly the colourful Cabana Club, the atmosphere is now slightly shady, if not sinister. The walls are covered in prints of what appears to be the grim reaper standing over a wolf. A giant crucifix poses as a glass-topped table. Plants dangle in alcoves beneath the limited windows and gothic candles flicker against a painted silver wall.
Head to the black tiled bar for Trumer Pils on tap. Above the semi-circular hub, industrial lights weave between a network of wooden cubes. Try one of the microbrews from the fridge, sip locally sourced wine, or order a Strange Mule with chilli vodka, lime, ginger beer and passionfruit from the cocktail menu. Nibbles are served in anything except crockery, adding to the science laboratory feel of the venue.
If you’re up for after-work drinks, late-night dancing or a secret rendezvous, Strange Wolf is the place to go. And by the time you find it, you’ll be in need of a drink.
Where: 71 Collins St, Melbourne (in Strachan Ln)
Hours: Wed-Sat | 4pm-3am
Phone: (03) 9662 4914