Eight ways to recreate the Melbourne bar experience from home

Eight ways to recreate the Melbourne bar experience from home

Image by Edward Howell
Words by Charisa Bossinakis

We all miss bars and pubs, so why not recreate it at home?

With the longing for a pint at our local looming large, one thing’s for certain: we’re all desperately craving Melbourne’s colourful nightlife right about now.

While COVID-19 continues to put our social plans on hold, why not be inventive and try recreate the bar experience from home? While sitting in your lounge room with a neat scotch may not be as profound as watching live music while downing a pint, with a little imagination and access to the internet, you could literally be anywhere.

To help nurture your imagination, here’s a list of eight ways you can recreate the bar experience from home.

1. Buy some schooner and pint glasses

Aside from lending itself to the at-home bar aesthetic, a schooner or pint glass can act as a shield of armour. In the words of Larry David, holding a glass makes you feel like, “You don’t have to shake hands with anyone”, and to reduce COVID-19 transmission during lockdown, this is definitely ideal. Drinking a beer out of a schooner or pint glass just adds to the experience as well.

2. Appoint a bartender from your household

Unless you’re thinking of an old school bartender fashioning a tea towel over the shoulder and lighting up a cigarette for the sad drunks, there are one of two ways your housemate/family member can play this role. Either they can be the chirpy, happy-go-lucky bartender who wears a Goonies shirt (or any ’80s film for that matter) and signs off everything with “darl” or “champ”, or they can play the very condescending maitre d’ who insists they’re a master alchemist.

Swap roles to keep things fresh. The world’s your oyster.

3. Set up a VIP area

Why not set up a section of the house that stands above the rest? Get the fairy lights out of the shed and drape them around the area; maybe add some nice carpet too. Set up a table where only your finest spirits are stowed. Then once or twice over the weekend wander in and treat yourself!

4. Ambience is everything

You must consider the mise en scene of your DIY bar. If you’re going for a more retro look, think of some vintage pieces of furniture that are multi-purpose and sustainable. For instance, milk crates for seats, mason jars to serve your favourite cocktails and maybe a plant or two to enliven things. When in doubt, hang up some of those op shop LPs you recently purchased. Smashing Pumpkins? No thanks, I already ate.

5. Create some DIY menus

Running on the theme of ambience, put together some curated food and drink menus. If you’re recreating some popular bar dishes, keep it simple – think grilled cheese toasties and greasy chips. Every time you want to order a more elite item off the menu, e.g. jalapeno poppers, have the ‘bartender’ notify you the kitchen is now closed.

6. Smoker’s room

Choose a place outside for a designated smoker’s area. Tell your housemate/family member they can say any one of the following when occupying this space:

Can I bum one?

I guess I’m just a free spirit

I wanna start my own business

Why can’t we bring our drinks out?

I’m gonna text him/her

I’m fine, I drank some water

Why does everyone hate Nickelback?

We should hang out more

If goofy is a dog, why does he have Pluto as a pet?

7. Turn the music up

The music has to be loud enough to merely hear what the person next to you is saying, but not so loud that it’s completely drowning out their words. You shouldn’t understand in length what they’re saying, only capturing the essence of the conversation. That way when you’re answering questions, it’s like a fun little guessing game. The Marco Polo of pub banter if you will, for example:

*No Doubt’s ‘Don’t Speak’ blasts in the background*

Can I get you a drink?

I’m well thank you and you?

8. Bathroom décor

Capturing the style of a Melbourne bar bathroom is a mixture of making it look as though a homicide took place while having the set of a David Lynch film in mind. Make sure there’s excess toilet paper stuck to the ground and red lipstick smeared everywhere. Install heaps of luxurious mirrors to reinforce how extra trash you look from each angle. It’s remarkable how you can be a solid six front on, but then your profile is a soft four.

Extra points if you can write some Marilyn Monroe quotes on post-it notes and stick them to the wall, just so you can enjoy a little philosophical advice while you’re on the john.

Keen on another fun read? Check out our list on the 23 things we’ve all done on a Melbourne night out. 

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