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Tonik Bar

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by Chris Sutton (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer, scouting out Melbourne for all that is worth relaying to an audience. Visit my website at or contact me @
Published July 28th 2011
Cocktails are essential
With all the hustle and bustle of Melbourne's CBD on the weekend, sometimes we just want somewhere to go for light conversation, a good meal and a bunch of cocktails with friends. Mix that up with comfort, refreshing music and a cheerful atmosphere and you will have Tonik, another one of Melbourne's hidden gems.

Blink, and you may miss it. Tonik is located on Macaulay Road, a slight uphill ascent from the Kensington train station, and once inside, is bigger than expected. Filled with colourful couches and long tables, it is obvious that you're in for a chill out session.

If it is food you seek, be it nibbles or a heavy meal, Tonik has you covered. While not having an extensive range of stomach fillers, the suburban bar focuses on quality rather than quantity. The starters go well when a beverage is in hand, with an array of dips, crispy calamari, prawn skewers and styled chips available to get the party started, priced between $10.00 to $13.00. An assortment of lavish, well presented pastas ($18.90) are also a highlight, while full sized meals such as the sauteed snapper, 300g rib eye, and eggplant stack are a little over twenty dollars. Desserts are present as well, but best to save the sweet tooth for the cocktails. With the hunger settled, it is time to consume some alcohol.

While the food is class, the range of alcohol is even better. First of all, high quality beer is on tap. The more common brews are available, but it was refreshing to order a schooner of Mountain Goat compared to the average draught at other establishments. A decent amount of spirits are also in abundance, coming in a large glass for $7.00. Despite all this, cocktails are the biggest attraction, hands down. With up to 25 different types to choose from, with names such as bubble gum, rocky road, melon lace and randy little kiwi, Tonik does not disappoint. Bright, colourful, sweet and enticing, the affordable delights are full of fruits, multiple forms of booze and even a few novelties. The perfect mixture of presentation and taste, from the friendly staff behind the counter.

The premises may not be enormous, but the space is well used. Upstairs is a function room, complete with a private bar, while the main room has all that is necessary, complimented by an artistic backdrop. Live bands play weekly, allowing for an intimate experience, and even the bathroom is worth mentioning, with its walls covered by oversized movie posters and other interesting periodicals.

Check the website regularly for news on events, photos of the interior and details on upcoming bands.
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Why? Enjoy yourself away from the CBD
When: 4pm till late on every day except Tuesday
Where: Macauley Rd, Kensington
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