Anyone who has seen 'A Night at the Roxbury' will remember the idea the two brothers have for a bar: "Inside will look like outside, and outside will look like inside!" As funny as this scene was, someone obviously was paying attention, as Madame Brussels runs with that idea and turns it into a playful, modern bar with some real standout points.
In the tradition of the best Melbourne bars, Madame Brussels can be a trial to find. Located in a complex next to an Italian restaurant, the front looks less than appealing. Gather up you reserves and walk through the door and up the stairs to the third floor. If that seems like too much hard work, there's a lift located in the back corner of the lobby. My advice: take the stairs. Drinks taste better when you're thirsty.
Enter via the only entrance on the third floor, and you're immediately greeted with a strange sight. The inside of the bar is decked out with fake grass, a garden path and outdoor furniture. Check yourself: you're not hallucinating. Madame Brussels features some bizarre architecture and drinks, and this first impression of madness is only the beginning.
Outside, on the balcony overlooking Bourke St, the bar offers fantastic night views and a real sense of comfort. If it's cold, barstaff will offer you blankets to keep you cosy, and lamp heaters keep the overall vibe warm. Funnily enough, the rising brick wall that overlooks the outside area looks strangely like something you'd see inside: again, the outside/inside theme reigns surpreme.
The other thing that reigns supreme at Madame Brussels is the price range. Don't go without bringing a wad of notes: you'll probably need them all. And for good reason. The quality of drinks, cocktails and beers are all top notch. One may pay through the nose, but it is worth it. Cocktail jugs are the order of the day, with the Pimms jug being a standout. If you're of the beer drinking variety, try the Real Belgian PIls. At $9.50 a pop, it ain't cheap, but it's damn good.
That goes for the whole bar. If you like your bars expensive, but completely off-the-wall, Madame Brussels is for you. Don't go in expecting a normal bar: nothing here is normal. But if you can get used to sitting outside...inside?...then you may just love it.