When I first stumbled into Der Raum four years ago I thought it was the coolest bar that I had ever come across. My opinion has not changed since. Enjoying the cocktail degustation before taking part in an Attica or Vue De Monde dining experience became second nature until I decided to move to Melbourne and claim Der Raum as my local boozer. Fortunately now I come armed with a fob to open the door so that I can exert the presence of a true Magpies supporter since they wisely began charging for membership.
I fondly recall languishing in my study in Brisbane a little over a year ago and reading that Der Raum possessed the arrogance of all things to charge a membership fee to enter their humble bar. The only thing I could do is chortle like a truffle eating pig and promise my credit card details knowing that I would be busting down their door in record time with the aforementioned fob. Over the next year I would frequent the bar and take notice of the happy members on hand. I never experienced a true traffic jam of customers, like one would experience in the Burnley tunnel after a crash until I recently decided to enjoy the cocktails with other members the other week. The place really does get packed to the rafters and the bar depends on a lowly vixen (at the time of this writing she does not look like Zoe Ventoura or even Angus Mclaren really unless you blink) to control the door and ensure that the hordes from the East do not enter. She was successful most of the time.
Sucking back the Bax beetroot wine, the aptly named Ben Shewry, a Blood & Sand if you can talk the bar into it, a Margarita pizza reduced cocktail, their take on beer or even a beer, which will lead to ten -- which is really not a beer, is all part of the enigma of a place that will consume you and leaving you wanting more.
Although it was a year before Luke Whearty and his team welcomed me as a member as I threw the door open and claimed the usual bar stool as my own, I was always enamoured by this place as it was something that neither Sydney or Brisbane could never muster. A small bar with world class service with spirits, staff and professionalism that beckoned me from interstate.
The principles of project management dictate three themes:
- Budget. Der Raum articulates budgetary guidance up front so there is no disappointment,
- Time. Everything is carried out at the bar with full transparency. You are never left wondering what is happening but it helps if you are actually sitting at the bar as what is on offer is demonstrated as an art on your time and with discretion,
- Quality. Bottles of alcohol dangle from the ceiling. Four years ago they were the properly named bottles but they have since been migrated into bottles that nominate "Poison" where some would think they are being robbed as per the liquor license. Each and every bottle is marked as not to break the licensing law. I find the attention to detail amazing and sensual.
There is no point in breaking this place down into the usual categories. It deserves a 20/20 based on the multiple and consistent experiences that I have had over the last four years. In my humble opinion it is the best place in Melbourne. As Liam Gallagher once said, "Be here now."
Link to review
438 Church Street Richmond VIC 3121
My Rating: 20/20
Value For Money: 5/5
Comment: Perfect in everyway. Always supurb!
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e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com
As of this writing 85% of those who reviewed Der Raum on Urbanspoon thought this place was excellent. The others were living in the twilight zone.