Croft Institute

21-25 Croft Alley, Melbourne CBD 3000
Opening hours:
Mon-Thu 5pm-1am, Fri 5pm-3am, Sat 8pm-3am

The Croft helped put Melbourne's bar culture on the map. Opened around the turn of the century, its 1930's science lab-meets-horror film shtick certainly sparked a lot of industry attention. Forgoing the faux European wine bar thing in favour of something completely leftfield, Dr Croft soon had a national following. When people realised they could also fix a mean drink and the place was hidden down a back alley, its reputation was pretty much assured. Nearly a decade later, The Croft is still a landmark bar. It might have more competition than ever before, but the multi-level layout, hospital green walls and test tube cool continues to attract both tourists and locals. Make your way down two back alleys (like something out of Big Trouble in Little China) and you'll find the front bar. Clinical with a horror twist would probably be the most apt way to describe it. You'll find a selection of graphic design nerds and arts students milling around on bar stools and low couches. Head upstairs and you'll find an equally creepy vintage gymnasium type space set aside for DJs. The drinks selection is the usual mix of cocktails, imported beers and such like. It's perfectly functional, but it really can't hold a candle to the sinister decor. At the end of the day, the visuals are what make this venue such an attraction.