Maria Shollenbarger
April 07, 2009

The burgeoning bar scene in Australia's second city has three new additions. Named for one of Melbourne's most illustrious historical figures, Madame Brussels (59 Bourke St.; 61-3/9662-2775) is a boudoir fantasy, with ostrich-head chandeliers, voluptuous overstuffed chesterfields, and an adventurous cocktail menu. • Section 8: Container Bar (27–29 Tattersalls Lane; 61-4/2297-2656) looks like an abandoned parking lot filled with shipping crates. The crates are actually the bar's walls and seating, but don't be put off: glowing Chinese lanterns and a deftly edited beer and wine list soften the back-alley edginess. • The black lacquered floors, custom Swarovski chandeliers, and floor-to-ceiling curtains—not to mention the killer gin martini—at the Lexington (350 Bourke St.; 61-3/9663-7122) are as dramatic as the neo-Renaissance General Post Office building that houses them.

Lexington

Section 8: Container Bar

Madame Brussels

Melbourne's original garden party is still going strong on the rooftop of this city building. Outdoor furniture painted in pastel shades, AstroTurf, and good-looking staff wearing vintage tennis gear abound. Jugs of Pimm's fruit cup, glasses of bubbly, and sausage rolls are very popular during the summer months, while orders of buttered rum and fondue, and blankets carefully placed over patrons' knees are key during winter. Regardless of the season, Madame Brussels is always a lot of fun.

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