There’s a brand new project from the team who brought you Melbourne’s popular Middle Eastern inspired Souk. Enter Handsome Bar, a luxe, modern bar where you can escape the ordinary.
Souk has moved upstairs after its fresh renovations to make way for the new bar which, as a result, will be residing front and downstairs of the Bligh Place location. Handsome Bar will be opening its funky doors in mid-August.
Owner Ergun Elmas leads a creative and experienced lineup of hospitality super stars. Director and General Manager Alla Payne (ex-Lucy Liu), 2IC Stevie Hatz (ex-ST ALi) and London-based designer and photographer Tré Koch will bring the venue to life. Together the team has worked hard to rebrand Souk and to open Handsome Bar to the Melbourne crowd.
The lavish Handsome Bar stars playful and nostalgic beverages and houses an enviable array of local and French wines. Eight delicious plant-based dishes feature on their condensed menu. Most noteworthy are the truffled parfait with Pedro Jimenez jelly, “bone marrow” toast with parsley and the nostalgic homemade “sausage” rolls with Melbourne-made tomato sauce.
“We have created two venues we feel Melbourne was missing,” says Payne. “Not only is the menu and cocktail list completely plant-based, we’ve also worked to make sure it tastes good. The time of dining shouldn’t be dependent on the quality available late at night.”
Everything is handsome at Handsome Bar, with rich, opulent textures found in the furnishings and metallic accents in the décor. But, above all, it is a bar for anyone. It’s the optimal hang out for pre-drinks or even a late-night date-night spot after dinner or a show.
Entering from a scruffy Melbourne laneway, the neon-infused Souk is a Middle Eastern dining experience like no other. The use of glass and crystal throughout the theming and tableware allows the neon lights to diffuse and make the venue glow with the colourful lights.
Souk now boasts an updated menu, which preserves classic flavours of the Ottoman Empire but incorporates contemporary cooking techniques. The modern menu includes fried brussel sprouts in pomegranate molasses and a Turkish Manti in garlic sour cream with paprika sauce, sumac and biber chilli, amongst other delicious dishes.
“It’s a new stage for us,” says owner, Elmas. “We wanted to change, to add a different legacy for Souk together with our new project Handsome Bar.”
Get excited as Handsome Bar will be opening in mid-August, but you don’t have to hold your horses now as the updated Souk is now open for your eating, and drinking, pleasure.
By Sarah Panther