Melbourne outdoor bar Section 8 sums up the best of modern Melbourne in a neat little package down one of our popular laneways.
They’re dedicated to slinging cocktails and all your alcoholic faves until the cows come home, and they couple it up with some killer music. There’s never a dull moment at Section 8, there’s music from funk bands, DJs, and a whole heap more. Check out some more info about Section 8 here.
Section 8 is the term used by the US military to describe the discharge of a soldier on mental health grounds. If you remember the classic TV show M.A.S.H, you’ll know that Klinger was constantly trying to get out of Korea on a section 8 clause.
What you need to know
– Address: 27-29 Tattersalls Lane
– Vibe: Modern Melbourne vibe
– Live Music: Singers, Bands, DJs
– Dedicated Menu: Cocktails
Read more stories from our archives about Melbourne bar Section 8 here.
The proprietors behind this very unorthodox laneway bar thought it was an apt name for their endeavour. After all, who converts some old freight containers into a makeshift bar and parks them down a side street? Four years later, Section 8 is a Melbourne favourite. Entirely outdoors (with appropriate covering for those afternoon showers), it’s a mix of re-conditioned freight containers, wooden crates to sit on, DJs and tropical gardens around the periphery.
While the setting is all very casual and relaxed, Section 8 offer a proper cocktail menu. Sure, you can get yourself a frosty cold one (they stock boutique beers from around the world), but if you’re after something more elaborate they also offer a mix of mojitos, mules, iced teas and more. Don’t let the outdoor setting fool you, the staff know their cocktails and appreciate that even a simple vodka, lime and soda benefits from a little attention to detail. Already a Melbourne icon, Section 8 is well worth a visit.
History of Section 8 and Ferdydurke
In March 2006 a former cafe manager and barman named Maz Salt got a one year lease on a carpark off Tattersals Lane in Chinatown, a space that he dropped in two shipping containers into – one for serving drinks and the other as toilets. This relatively cheap start-up was named Section 8 but for many patrons it was, and is still, known as ‘the container bar.’
Salt explains the inception of the idea in his own words. “A couple desperate bartenders with very little money had access to a carpark! When we started we had a one year lease and a one year license but the success of the place within the first year meant that the council supported the change of permit from one year to ongoing and now eight years later we’re still here!”
With the relevance of the number eight, Salt and Section 8 began the eighth birthday celebrations on Sunday March 9 with US act Awesome Tapes From Africa and finished up on Sunday March 16 with a huge laneway party that saw Rat & Co. performing on a balcony looking over the laneway and Melbourne disco/house legends Otologic closing the night. The entire week of festivities for Salt was a somewhat noisy catharsis after eight years of hard-fought success on two fronts: noise complaints and a constant supply of power. However, relative success on those two fronts has resulted in Salt now helming Office of Public Works that owns and operates Section 8, neighbouring bar Ferdydurke and the north side’s The B.East.
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That being said, as Salt explains, Section 8’s battle with noise complaints remains. “It’s a continuous and ongoing issue with Section 8 for eight years and it has at times felt like dog years. I have been to VCAT over it, I have probably spent somewhere in the vicinity of $50,000 over the eight years defending myself over various fines and charges.”
However, one of the venue’s early battles that has been resolved is that of power supply. “The first quote I got from city power to connect power to the site was $50,000 to $100,000. That was a lot more money than we had so the very good folk from Curtain House let us run a coaxial cable 100m from their stairwell for the great cost of two boxes of a wine a month for about two years until they opened Rooftop Bar. It was the end of our supply from them,” explains Salt with a wry chuckle.
In the ensuing years Section 8 ran its power via a rented apartment block but every time they had a DJ, the coffee machine on and the dishwasher on they blew a fuse! Finally this was all resolved when the shop that is now Ferdydurke came up for rent so Salt and his team quickly rented the space, firstly as a power supply and secondly as the space that would become Ferdydurke (said Fer-dy-dur-ka).
The name Ferdydurke comes from a 1937 novel by Polish author Witold Gombrowicz that tells the tale of man who is fighting conformity and becoming more immature as he matures in a desperate attempt to reclaim his youth. This intellectual veneer is backed up by the venue’s innovative entertainment schedule.
“Probably one of the best nights at Ferdydurke is the spoken word with jazz music around the spoken pieces. It is a really exciting collection of young people doing some cool things and it is actually a really happening night. Sometimes I feel like I am not the owner/operator but simply a custodian of a space that has become so much more than just a bar.”
Some revealing Section 8 stories from our archives
Find out more information about Section 8 here.