Heroes, the new venture from the Fancy Hanks team, probably would have opened earlier had they not mentioned to licensing that the concept included karaoke.
"They froze the permits and we had to have police checks and interviews," says co-owner Mike Patrick. "They couldn't believe we legitimately wanted to run a karaoke bar."
But they did, and now they are. Heroes, which opened on June 29 just down the road from Fancy Hanks, is a restaurant and karaoke bar split over three levels.
Entry is via Nitro Lab, an ice-cream shop on street level. A lift takes you to the karaoke floor. The 72-seat restaurant and bar is a level up, accessed by the lift or a set of external stairs, and up top is a rooftop bar and smoking area.
The design has been done by co-owner Kent Bell, who went to Kuala Lumpur with co-owner Myles Munro and head chef Alicia Cheong to source a shipping container worth of vivid fittings for the place. The restaurant level, in particular, has been hit hard: gaudy prints on every spare bit of wall, pink Chinese dragons, lanterns and streamers explode from the roof. Just being here is fun.
Pink dragons aren't all they brought back from overseas. A chicken skewer grill, built like a foosball table, came back with Cheong on the plane from Singapore. It sits in the kitchen next to a custom-built Silver Creek Smokers grill, which she'll use to cook her Singaporean and Malaysian food: think satay sticks, barbecue chicken wings, Sichuan brisket, cooling salads and pickles.
Ex-Eau de Vie and Loretta's barman Oscar Eastman is in charge of cocktails. His focus is on ingredients like seaweed and chai instead of more common south-east Asian ingredients such as lemongrass or chilli. There's also a range of beers and wines.
Open Tue-Thu 4pm-1am; Fri-Sat noon-1am (kitchen noon-3pm, 5pm-11pm).
188 Bourke Street, Melbourne, heroesbar.com.au