A French traveler and artist currently exploring Australia. I enjoy bushwalking, discovering the local culture and arts.
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Published August 6th 2012
Don your Borsalino, grab your Thompson, it's bar time
The alleyway leading to The Grasshopper looks like something out of a film noir. A thin gash in the continuous façade of buildings, Temperance Lane opens on George Street, around number 390 between Market and King. After only a few meters in the shadow of the tall buildings, you will reach the T-shaped end of the alleyway.
Here is what you are looking for - photo by author
Don't be fooled by the green "Needlecraft" sign : your gangster hideout is a couple of steps to the right. This might sound a bit overdone in terms of directions, but rest assured that it's almost impossible to find The Grasshopper if you don't know where to look.
A target (almost) marks the spot - photo by author
Now that you've made it, take a moment to read the description of the neon circles sculpture that adorns the wall next to the entrance, before taking off your borsalino hat and stepping in. The Grasshopper offers two (minuscule) levels, open Monday to Friday from 12pm and Saturday from 4:30pm. Climb the stairs for a treat at the eating house or head downstairs for a cocktail in the dim light of the bar.
The eating house menu offers salads, oysters, fish and meat main courses with a French touch, with a price range varying from $10 to $30. You can also opt for a cheese platter and a glass of wine or go for a sweet fondant or cheesecake. The open kitchen and little tables create a nice ambience, complete with low lights.
The menu at the bar leans much more towards the liquid side, with a bit of bar food and a list of cocktails bearing numbers rather than names, usually served in jars. The menus offer clippings from the Guinness Book of Records for your entertainment while you wait for your drink. On Mondays and Tuesdays, you can also bring out the fun with some of the available board games (Jenga, Guess Who, Droughts or Connect 4 but there has to be an underground gambling den somewhere). Second-hand furniture, low-lights and pictures plastered on the wall offer a cosy, intimate vibe, perfect for a nice conversation.
Or you can enjoy a nice evening with friends downstairs - Photo by The Grasshopper
Open in April 2010, this laneway bar has gone on to be voted "Best Small Bar of the Year" by Australian Bartender Magazine (now 4bars.com.au) and is worth the chase. You may find it a bit pricey but then you can always take one of their cocktail classes and step behind the bar yourself. Classes are open for up to 12 people at a time, Monday to Wednesday : 45$ pp for 45 minutes or 75$ pp for 90 minutes, including your own barista survival pack (recipes, measuring beaker and 6 jars).