ASIAN BEER CAFE
Level 3 Melbourne Central, 211 La Trobe Street, city, asianbeercafe.com.au
Seven days 11am-1am
Bars within giant shopping centres often defy the criteria by which other bars are tested. That’s true of the Asian Beer Cafe, which appeals primarily to a broad, transient crowd. The bar’s decor is a vague sweep of Asian cultural icons. Hanging lanterns light tall statues of Buddha; contemporary anime characters oversee low wooden tables. Light dance music gives a resort atmosphere and the bartenders are friendly, serving fizzing cocktails couriered to a balcony that looks to the State Library. The beer selection isn’t huge, despite the name, but prices are very reasonable. This writer could do without the anime pictures of young women adorning the splashback of the men’s urinal, though.