Rising from the ashes of a devastating fire in 2015, The Albion Rooftop has reopened as a multi-level lifestyle venue with stunning city views, great cocktails and delicious food.
The Albion Rooftop bears little scars from the fire that almost destroyed the 150-year-old building three years ago. The building’s historic exterior strikes an iconic pose while the contemporary interior boasts sophisticated features. A state-of-the-art speaker system set into the ceiling directs sound to the dance floor while allowing conversation to happen at the tables. A cool mist falls from the ceiling above the bar to take the temperature down on hot days.
Built in 1869, The Albion has been many things to many people, with The Roxy and The Motel being two of the venue’s previous guises. As The Albion Rooftop, its appeal is wide-ranging: a place to grab a quick lunch or a leisurely dinner; a well-stocked cocktail bar with sunset city views; a place to dance into the wee small hours and; a venue for hire.
The views over Melbourne’s city skyline are stunning and certainly one of the main drawcards for the venue. Add a cocktail or two to that view and you’ve got a recipe for a popular spot for after work drinks and weekend catch ups. The bar area is big and the views panoramic, so there’s plenty scope for enjoying the space on a busy evening.
I ordered the Ginvender, a delicate and quaffable cocktail of gin, elderflower, lavender and tonic. Later, as the sun dyed the sky pink, I ordered a glass of Even Keel Rose from the Heathcote region which was a great accompaniment to dinner. Later still, as night crept in, espresso martinis fit the bill. With two to choose from – one on tap made with Ketel One Vokda, Kahlua and cold drip coffee – I opted instead for the house-made variant, a delicious mix of Bacardi Fuego, De Kuyper Crème de Café, and Boston Black cold drip.
In its previous life as The Motel, it was a drinks-only venue. But the addition of a full kitchen and its proximity to the South Melbourne Market just across the road, The Albion Rooftop has curated a well-thought-out menu using local ingredients. Expect share plates of fare from around the globe that echoes what’s current and popular with Melbourne foodies.
The seared nori tuna with edamame, seaweed salad and wasabi mayo is a menu highlight, its soft flesh cooked to perfection on the outside while lightly fragrant and raw on the inside. Miso glazed tofu also gets my vote. The firm Asian-flavoured slices are sprinkled with puffed rice, spring onion and sesame and are surprisingly moreish.
Can’t decide between the cheese board or the house-made truffles to round the meal off? My suggestion; have both. On this particular night, I made a dent in the Berry’s Creek Riverine Blue, a Gipplsand cheese that was soft and creamy with a slightly sweet taste. The truffles – served on the cheese board – were the best I’ve ever tasted, their creamy, fluffy texture simply melted in the mouth.
If late night action is on the cards, the 5 am weekend license offers a place to drink and dance into the next day, just in time to catch the sun rising over Melbourne’s skyline and enjoy those views once again.
Descend one level and you’ll find yourself in the plush nightclub that promises Melbourne’s best DJs and party jams. On the way down, look out for a glass window on a wall that you wouldn’t expect to see one. It’s the only scar left – deliberately – of the fire that destroyed this behemoth, before rebuilding it, bigger and better than before.
The Albion Rooftop
172, York Street South Melbourne
Wednesday – Thursday 12-11pm
Friday – Saturday 12pm-5am