Absinthe Salon brings mystique in an intimate and elegant bar.
With an unassuming exterior, you could easily walk by the Absinthe Salon in Fitzroy without giving it a second thought. Don’t! After stepping behind the plain wooden door along Rose Street, you enter into a magical realm of art and ritual that is not to be missed.
Rebecca and Vince, the visionaries of this masterpiece, quit their respective jobs in Sydney with the dream of bringing the ritual of absinthe to Melbourne. And what a job they have done.
Rebecca previously worked in interior design and Vince in construction, and with the combination of their design prowess, they have created a space that is reminiscent of Parisian cabarets mixed with the natural elegance of vinery and flowers. White tulips dangle from the ceiling, every few wired with a dim light, creating an intimately lit interior. The walls are painted with detailed murals of absinthe folklore, from the green fairy to the iconic Absinthe Robette poster.
However, the main reason this bar stands apart in Fitzroy is no illusion; the wide and diverse range of absinthe is displayed proudly in front of the bar, ready to be sampled and enjoyed.
I’m new to the ritual of drinking absinthe, but in an effort to fit in amongst the sophisticated ambience, I suppress my concerns about making a fool of myself. Surely these refined guests sip on absinthe in their free time and know exactly what to do with these slotted spoons and cubes of sugar.
Much to my delight, the staff of Absinthe Salon walk us through the entire ritual process and even assemble my first glass of absinthe for me. I watch as my waiter places the glass under the absinthe fountain, turns the ice water to a slow drip and allows the sugar cube to dissolve, slowly clouding the spirit. After watching the liquor transform in the glass, I take my first sip of Lemercier. I’m not sure if it’s the romantic atmosphere, the soft lighting, or the high caliber of my drink, but I’m immediately transported to a dreamlike headspace.
The staff come around with trays of brie and cranberry on anise cookies followed by chocolate and candied fennel pudding. Before I know it, I’m ordering my second glass of absinthe, this time opting for Bourgeois, a fruity alternative after my light and classic start. I feel exactly like a Parisian bohemian at the Moulin Rouge.
Halfway through the evening, my drinking partner and I awaken from our trance to realize we’ve been discussing existential topics since our first sip of absinthe. We now understand the creative outcomes of the likes of Van Gogh and Hemingway who sipped on Absinthe while dreamlike visions filtered into their art.
Words don’t do the beautifully executed artistry of Absinthe Salon justice, so I highly recommend you experience this production for yourself. The mystique lies in the Absinthe Salon’s capability to transform your night from a rambunctious walk down Brunswick Street to a refined evening of thoughtful conversation and entrancing spirits.
82 Rose Street, Fitzroy
Wed- Fri 5pm-11pm
Sat- Sun 4pm-11pm