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Bar Margaux Brilliance in Melbourne CBD

Bar Margaux is a top notch bar that also serves up a serious food offering, already achieving iconic status as one of the best bars in MelbourneBar Margaux is a New York influenced French brasserie and the latest venue from award-winning hospitality group Made in the Shade, has made waves since it opened in a basement on Melbourne’s Lonsdale Street.

The hospitality group, owned by Michael Madrusan and his wife Zara, operates some of Melbourne’s most groundbreaking and successful venues including Heartbreaker, Connie’s Pizza and The Everleigh.

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Sexy bar in Lonsdale. Walking into a non descript basement belies that buzz and action inside. The kind of place you want to return to.

Michael and Zara have collaborated with interior designer (and sister of Michael), Deanie Madrusan of BAR Studio, on the dim-lit, glamorous 100-seat bar and restaurant that reflects the Parisian style brasseries of New York. Details include classic chequered black and white tiled flooring, an all zinc bar top, rich red leather banquettes and custom pendants and sconces inspired by Cafe St Regis in Paris.

Michael and Zara have also taken inspiration with the food and drinks menu. French-trained group executive chef Daniel Southern (ex Vue Group and L’Oustal), has designed a menu of French bistro classics. We dropped in one night and we able to secure a booth where we imbibed the French classics.

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Popular with corporates. Perch at the bar, on a couch or secure a booth (need to book ahead).

Dishes on the opening menu include; duck frites, escargots de Bourgogne, moules Basquaise and signature ‘MGX’ cheeseburger. The kitchen has been fitted out with a Synergy grill to perfect the three steaks on the menu. There will also be daily specials running throughout the week including fondue for two, coq au vin and beef bourguignon and a ‘Beggars Banquet’ that is optional for parties of four or more. It includes a bottle of Champagne, oysters, steak tartare and frites for $99.

With a late-night licence, there is a substantial supper menu available until the early hours of the morning, which includes French onion soup, steak frites, the ‘MGX’ burger and a croque monsieur.

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Tartare dreams. (Testing the low light ability of the camera and I'm loathe to use a flash).

Margaux is a bar, first and foremost. That’s what we do.” Michael said. “A bar with great food and wine. The stuff that we love to eat and drink. There’ll be Guinness on tap. Why? Because we love Guinness. We create places we want to be in. Heartbreaker was absolutely where we wanted to be four years ago. There’s nowhere like Margaux in Melbourne. It’s high time she introduced herself."

To that end, Michael has designed a cocktail menu split into three categories – light aperitif, serious styles and digestif. Including French and Italian spritzs, the Black Velvet (Guinness and Champagne), the Cafe Royale (coffee, Cognac and cream served hot), plus half-size Martinis and Manhattans.

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French onion soup is wonderfully intense and almost a meal in itself. 

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Duck frites are a must order.

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The wine program is being handled by Made in the Shade’s group manager, Marty McCaig, and is approachable and affordable with local producers including Lyons Will, Tellurian and The Wine Farm featured. The Champagne list runs from small, boutique Champagne growers including Chartogne-Taillet and Agrapart, through to the classic producers Billecart-Salmon and Krug.

“If we’ve learned anything from our projects to date, it’s that the experience comes first. Quality doesn’t have to equal special occasion. We want to make it easy to enjoy great food and have a damn good time doing it. Margaux is the kind of place you swing in for a drink, end up meeting a bunch of friends for dinner and don’t leave until way past curfew,” Zara said.

Bar Margaux is located in the basement of 111 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne CBD. Highly recommended.

Opening hours - Sunday to Thursday from 4pm - 3am and Friday and Saturday from 4pm – 5am