130 Acland St, St Kilda 3182
Opening hours:
Mon-Sat 5pm-late, Sun midday-10pm

St Kilda has changed a lot in recent years - Ackland street is almost unrecognisable. While the old-school cake shops remain, the influx of chain stores has really changed the dynamic of the area. Simply put, the area's European heritage has slowly, but surely, made way for designer jeans and fitted T-shirts. In among all this gentrification, places like Cicciolina Back Bar are a welcome throwback to St Kilda's past. Located at the back of Cicciolina restaurant, Back Bar has a genuine retro charm. It harks back to a time when black vinyl upholstery and polished wood was the last word in drinking-establishment chic. There's certainly no shortage of either. The horseshoe bar is surrounded by vintage barstools and there are several booth seats opposite - all resplendent in their creaky black vinyl. The cream walls are covered in antique prints and it's basically a world away from the increasingly gaudy Ackland Street. Thanks to the restaurant at the front you'll find an elaborate wine list on offer. The cocktail selection is also really good and you can order a detective special (beer with a side shot of scotch) without feeling weird about it. If you're looking for a world-weary bar with plenty of character, Cicciolina delivers.