Securing a table at Gimlet at Cavendish House is no mean feat, but Andrew McConnell and the team at Trader House are diversifying our options by bringing that same moody Euro-charm to a new location just around the corner from the Flinders Street favourite, only on a much smaller scale. Melbourne, meet Apollo Inn.
Set into the façade of a quintessentially Melbourne neo-renaissance style building, on the corner of Flinders and Hosier Lanes, the soon-to-open cocktail bar pays homage to one of Melbourne's first public bars (of the same name, which was situated where Gimlet now stands) and will put a laser-focus on well-made cocktails and neat snacks.
Apollo Inn is slated to open next Tuesday 13 June, with slick interiors courtesy of ACME Project Studios, who also designed Gimlet's chic fit-out. The intimate bar boasts a cosy 30 seats, plus timber wall panelling, colourful Murano glass light fittings, and a grand marble top bar.
Order a Lucien Gaudin with gin, Campari, dry vermouth, and Grand Marnier; or a choice of Martini stirred to your tastes - be it Dry, Dirty, Gibson or Café, bar manager Cameron Parish has all bases covered. As for wine, Trader House veteran beverage director Leanne Altmann has pulled together an impressive list from Gimlet's extensive cellar, featuring local and international drops available by the bottle or glass.
Gimlet head chef Colin Mainds has created a sharp-shooting menu of snacks and share plates to match the timeless venue's petite space - think zesty gildas and a creative prawn and spanner crab spin on the classic club sandwich alongside imported cheeses, beef carpaccio, and crème caramel for dessert.
It's the first new opening for Andrew McConnell since Gimlet opened with a bang at the end of 2020. It's also the first-ever standalone cocktail bar opened by the Trader House group.
Apollo Inn is slated to open Tuesday 13 June. It will daily from 5pm-1am, with walk-ins and reservations available. To book, head to the Apollo Inn website.