Back Alley Sally's

Warehouse party: Back Alley Sally's is in a former T-shirt factory.
Warehouse party: Back Alley Sally's is in a former T-shirt factory. Photo: Paul Jeffers

Level 1, 4 Yewers Street Footscray, Victoria 3011

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Opening hours Wed-Sat 4pm-10pm
Features Bar, Licensed, Outdoor seating
Prices Cheap (mains under $20)
Phone 03 9689 6260

Is Jerome Borazio​ some kind of hospitality oracle? He reinvented the laneway bar with milk crate marvel St Jeromes, which spawned the mammoth hit Laneway Festival, and lately he's been convincing people to camp in tents on the roof of Melbourne Central for $450 a night. The man knows how to spot a trend, and take a punt. 

Where else would he appear than Melbourne's perpetually up and coming hotspot, the 'Scray? This new all-rounder in the bones of an old T-shirt factory is like a grungy Australian take on a no-frills American diner.

The name isn't lying, you enter via a scuzzy back alley near Footscray Station, into a narrow pizza shop called Slice Girls West, which leads upstairs to a sprawling open plan space.

I really, really, really want a ... Zig-a-zig-ah.
I really, really, really want a ... Zig-a-zig-ah. Photo: Paul Jeffers

The decor is cheerily slap-dash with a tin roof, cloudy windows, concrete floor, brick walls, kerosene tin lamps, burgeoning indoor garden beds, and a row of booths covered in cheap industrial carpet. A tangle of bare bulbs hangs over the island bar, attended by tank-topped staff rippling with west side 'tude. It's very similar to Jerome's city stalwart 1000 Pound Bend, with more space and less students sucking up the Wi-Fi.

One area is sectioned off with lurid astroturf flooring, high tables fashioned from recycled wooden doors jutting from the wall. On my visit this was an indie kids' zone.

Pizza ferried from downstairs is a safe bet and like everything here, is reasonably priced. The Zig-a-zig-ah is an eight squared beast with a thick bready base scattered with salami, capsicum, cherry tomatoes and a dusting of chilli flakes, and you can also get a Wannabe, Baby Slice or Viva Forever. The rest of the menu has vegie leanings, including a saganaki burger, cheesy toasties and nachos.

Slice Girls West pizzeria is below Back Alley Sally's.
Slice Girls West pizzeria is below Back Alley Sally's. Photo: Paul Jeffers

A streamlined drinks list reads like the contents of an ice bath at a good house party. The Jo and Harry cocktail is (sort of) named after owners Jo and Andrew, and is an oversized vase of dry ginger ale with Smirnoff coconut vodka and four crescents of lime bobbing to the surface. It's like a bottle of Reef Oil, in a good way, and is something you might drink on holiday in Seminyak.

Crafty beers are cheap at $5 a pot, $10 a pint, $18 a jug. There are as many gins as there are vodkas, plus a few staple bottles of whisky, tequila and rum, and $16 a nip is considered splashing out here.

One or two cheap wines get the job done, though incongruously you can also buy a bottle of Perrier-Jouët French Champagne for $110 a bottle. That's what Jerome will be drinking.

The Cheese kransky dog.
The Cheese kransky dog. Photo: Paul Jeffers

Eat this: Zig-a-zig-ah, $13.

Drink this: Jo & Harry's, $15.

Know this: No bar tabs, no receipts.

Say this: "Apparently Braybrook is the new Footscray."