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Horse Bazaar Japanese Izakaya Bar

Home > Melbourne > Bars | Cocktail Bars | Food and Wine | Pubs | Restaurants
by Night Writer (subscribe)
Co-author of the ebook Secret Sydney Bars Walking Tour (Amazon). Reviews wine & craft beer bars and pubs, Asian restaurants and other places open late. Please visit my blog for more of the same from around the world
Published January 5th 2019
Trot to the Horse Bazaar Japanese Izakaya-Style Bar
Owned and managed by a friendly Japanese couple, the Horse Bazaar is a great place to while away a few hours, catch up with friends, or take part in random events.

Horse Bazaar bar area
The eclectic bar at the Horse Bazaar

On my first visit there a few weeks ago, the first thing that struck me was how much space they'd devoted for indie bands. As someone who migrated from Sydney a few years ago, I'm still not quite used to the great support that musicians get in Melbourne. So, that impressed me for a start. I also learnt that Horse Bazaar regularly has international musicians performing on stage. How awesome!

Horse Bazaar restaurant and stage
Horse Bazaar stage for indie bands

I love lots of wood in bars, and this place has it in spades, giving it that izakaya-style vibe. There is also a lot of artwork, as well as a wide wall which gets amazing pictures projected on it through the night.

I was also quite happy with the level of the background music before the main party. I'd been looking for a good place to do some writing since both The Equinox and Food Inc had closed, so perhaps this is the one quiet enough to put in a few chapters over a glass of something.

I was curious to know whether they'd have any different Japanese whiskeys, and I was happy to be able to enjoy a glass of Kakubin, and a glass of The Chita. I also made a note that they have my favourite, Hibiki, so I'll be having that when I go there again. I followed those up with a couple of glasses of Serafino Goose Island Shiraz which, as a McLaren Vale drop, was a nice one to end the night with.

My partner is more of a beer drinker and enjoyed a number of different beers both on tap and in bottles, with her fave being a boilermaker drink called 'Late Night Breakfast'. She also enjoyed the Niseko Coffee Shochu and the Roku Gin.

Horse Bazaar food okonomiyaki soused mackerel
Okonomiyaki, miso eggplant and soused mackerel

Horse Bazaar Nachos
Wanton nachos, with cheese on the side

For food in such a small place, we were both delighted to find that it was excellent. We tried the okonomiyaki, miso eggplant, soused mackerel, and wanton nachos. Delicious, and we were impressed with the quality, taste and amount for the price. (My partner tried their Japanese Fried Chicken (karaage) with special sauce at another time and says it's also superb and at $1 a piece, worth checking out.)

The menu has vegetarian and vegan options, and the helpful staff were quite accommodating with 'on the side' requests. I definitely plan to return to try some of the other things on the menu.

Horse Bazaar random events
Cosplay, Karaoke and Magicians at Horse Bazaar

Later, the place quickly filled with happy people in cosplay for a public Japanese end of year party. There was a costume competition, karaoke, and even a magician performing on stage.

We quickly understood that just about anything can happen at the Horse Bazaar, and we've already been back since.

Check it out.
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Why? A uniquely different style of bar
Phone: (03) 9670 2329
Where: 397 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
Cost: Food: $5-$30 Drinks: $5-$50
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