Hidden behind Promise Café in Prahran is Melbourne’s newest speakeasy – a venue you wouldn’t know existed, if it weren’t for a few key signs.
A neon-blue Japanese turning signal on top of the building points patrons in the right direction; walking into the café – open suspiciously late – the next clue is an out-of-place ‘Staff Only’ sign above a glass-paneled door. Once granted entry by a barista, you’ll find Promise Bar.
The grungy, late night cocktail lounge is owned by one Vaughan Marks, who has long been intrigued by the culture of speakeasy bars. Alongside friend and artist Daniel Hernandez, whose work features throughout the venue, the two came up with the concept of Promise Bar.
Another unique element of Promise Bar’s offering is its lack of a set menu or cocktail list. Instead, patrons are offered a ‘Pick your Promise’ card, highlighting their likes and dislikes so that a bartender can create a specially curated cocktail to suit their taste.
The team also processes as many of its ingredients onsite as possible, dehydrating its own fruit, freshly squeezing juices and even drying out the roses that are on display as a table setting.
And while the bar doesn’t have a food menu yet, there’s a range of toasties available for punters to snack on.