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Open: Mon-Sat 5pm-1am
Located in the basement of the Seamstress building, Sweatshop is a little different to your average Melbourne cocktail lounge. For starters, they proudly serve (high school staple) West Coast Cooler. Not only that, they've devised their own cocktail involving this fruity alcoholic drink and certain vodkas or tequilas. If you want to fly your bogan flag high they've certainly got the drink for it. Mind you, if you're less enthusiastic about your suburban upbringing you can choose a normal cocktail from their very extensive list. While $17 isn't cheap, the drinks are created with panache and the bar staff look like they actually enjoy getting you liquored up - which always helps.
Decor wise, this bar is a rather odd affair - the whole sweatshop vibe isn't just a cute name. Proprietors Jason Chan and Anthony Herzog have based the design on a Bangkok factory basement (of sorts) and the place is awash with red lighting and bolts of oriental fabric suspended from the ceiling alongside the exposed power cables and the industrial fittings. The seating is ad hoc and you may well find yourself sitting on a dismantled shipping crate. Alternatively, you can pull up a bar stool and enjoy the elaborate set-up from up high.
With just the right mix of upmarket cocktails and outer-suburban chic, Sweatshop is a cocktail bar with decidedly low-rent appeal. Whether it's a Little Creatures Pale Ale served in a paper bag, elaborate cocktail or a bottle of West Coast Cooler, they've got something to take the edge off.