Anyone familiar with Melbourne's vast and varied inner-city bar scene will know that by far the best venues are secreted down dark and often dank back alleys, which are usually bin-laden. No, not the wanted criminal mastermind, as in full of bins for dumping rubbish.
The Croft Institute, not to be outdone, takes this quirky Melbourne trait and runs with it to the nth degree. Walk down one dark lane off of shiny Chinatown, and turn the corner into the next. This one reveals the back of popular Chinatown restaurants, and the lane's strewn with cabbage and graffiti. Turn yet another corner and huts as you fear you're about to be mugged and left for dead, there it is.
Croft is a real institution. I've heard rumours the place used to be a mental institution. The decor is certainly ga ga with heaps of medical equipment everywhere, sparse tiled walls and bare floor boards could give the place a creepy air if the hot staff weren't so damned good at making outstanding cocktails. There's a crazy ass beer and wine list too, so this institution is definitely one to be seen in. Just pack your padded vest and make the most of the sweet alcohol-induced relief.
Stephen Russell, Citysearch
September 16, 2008
Very cool!! Very laidback!! Love it!!
June 20, 2010
The Croft Institute provides you with an Alice in Wonderland-esque experience, what with its cryptic signage pointing only those with attention to detail to its hidden location. Half the fun is finding it, once you get past the self-doubt that will have you thinking you've taken a wrong turn. Once inside, it is an intimate space that caters for a small crowd. The cocktails are not as out there as you would think a bar decorated with specimens and beakers, but the then again, it's the adventure that would bring in most of the walk ins.