With its wild interior, The Carlton Hotel offers a completely unique drinking experience in a completely crazy venue.
- Quite easy, just head into the CBD and down Bourke Street. It is a small entrance, however it opens up once upstairs.
- Type: Bar/Restaurant
- Food: Pub Grub
- Music: DJ
- Cover: Depends on the night
The Carlton would have to be one of the most unique venues in Melbourne. Stepping from the relatively plain stairwell into the bar can be a bit daunting at first, leaving you wondering where you have ended up. Quite simply The Carlton Hotel’s décor is out there, past the unique and verging into the crazy. From the lush red velvet interior to the in-your-face wallpaper, and the palm trees to the taxidermied animals scattered throughout, everything about The Carlton Hotel is in your face. Even the lighting throughout is extreme ranging from hanging lights to deep blue neon. Yet, somehow it all sort-of just works, once the initial shock has been overcome the loud interior fades into the background. There are several areas including a rooftop bar which is great in summer.
Yet with the crazy interior it doesn’t quite fit the cocktail bar experience, the cocktail list at The Carlton Hotel is more of a simplified cocktail list of popular cocktails and doesn’t set out to be complex or technical. There are several beers on tap and a simple wine list which gives the impression of it being a pub, however it doesn’t really feel like a pub either. There isn’t table service, and the staff aren’t out to impress you with their skills, with that said though they are happy to help how they can. There is a restaurant, and while we haven’t tried the food at the time of the review it is a modern take on pub food and from all accounts isn’t bad.
While in theory The Carlton Hotel sounds like a crazy place, it misses the mark a little in trying to be a jack of all trades, it is a venue that seems to be a master of none in the sense that it just misses the mark in each area. With that said however it is well worth a visit, even if it is just to see the interior and have a drink.
The Carlton Hotel is a completely crazy venue that has something for everyone, at most hours of the night.
+ Interior is a talking point
+ Versatility of offerings
- More of a pub than a cocktail bar
- Cocktails are nothing special