Photography by Jess Prescott
Tucked away in Rainbow Alley, behind Swanston and Little Collins Street, is Cabinet Bar & Balcony. A small doorway with a speakeasy vibe leads to a staircase littered with framed portraits of patrons (a bunch of cocktails are even named after their regulars).
With ceiling fans spinning overhead, giant chalkboard menus and small wooden tables sitting on a tiled floor, this spot has a nice ‘old-timey’ feel to it. Paisley wallpaper lines the walls decorated with hanging chairs, giving the venue a unique style all to itself. The look is complete with a wood-panelled bar occupied by polite, smartly-dressed staff awaiting your order. Head up a few steps and you’ll find yourself on a wooden deck overlooking Swanston Street, perfect for after-work drinks or a laid-back evening amongst the treetops.
It’s a modest but well-stocked bar focusing on cocktails and wine, with Orion beer on tap and an extensive beer and cider list by the bottle. Having celebrated their 10th birthday last year, Cabinet have found what they’re good at and perfected it. With champagne cocktails, bar jars, martinis and “not so sweets” taking up the majority of their drinks menu, you’re sure to find a cocktail to quench your thirst.
They boast a delicious tapas menu, offering patrons a variety of tastes to compliment their drink choices. The halloumi sliders are beautifully crumbed and cooked to perfection, topped with a fig chutney that gives an incredible sweet flavour against the salty cheese. They go down easily as a nice light snack. With four to a serve, they’re perfect for sharing – if you feel like giving one up.
The Cabinet Popcorn Chicken is made with lean chicken pieces in a deliciously crunchy breading that’s prepared in-house. Served with lime and chilli mayo for that extra kick, it’s not greasy at all, with each piece being generous in size. They’re incredibly moreish and perfect for snacking while enjoying a drink in the sun.
The flatbread range is for those seeking a bigger meal. Each option is made with fresh flatbread that stays soft even after being in the oven. They’re not overloaded with toppings, allowing each ingredient to stand on its own.
With a variety of specials throughout the week and a regular happy hour, Cabinet is the perfect CBD spot to tie one on after work or relax with friends on the weekend.