Fancy a fright with your pint (or piña colada)? On a very cold and rainy winter night in Melbourne, my plus one and I ventured down a laneway off Melbourne’s iconic Queen Victoria Market. While it was chilly outside, we were here for another type of chill – the type that goes down your spine when you hear ghoulish tales of haunted graveyards, serial killers and severed limbs. We were here for Drinking History Tour’s spook-tacular Hidden Bars & Creepy Tales tour.
My plus one was visiting Melbourne from out of town, so we thought this would be a perfect opportunity for him to explore the city, and for me to have a nice drink. I’m glad to report back that I learnt so much about this city along the way. While we both love to have a tipple or two in nice bars, the real joy of the night for us was to learn about Melbourne’s (often shady) history and to have a good laugh with our tour group.
Our knowledgeable and very passionate tour host Daniel met us at the markets with a clear message; this wasn’t going to be a trashy bar crawl, but rather a history tour (with drinking) which suited us perfectly. Over the course of the night we would be heading to three of Melbourne’s hidden bars while hearing interesting stories about the cities past along the way. After all, everything is better with a drink in your hand.
It’s clear from the start that Drinking History Tours are very well researched. Getting the context of a place, while taking you inside a city by experiencing its bars and nightlife is the perfect way to experience the city for the first time, or reacquaint yourself with a city you might not have known completely. As a history buff and keen bar fly, it’s safe to say that I know Melbourne like the back of my hand. Having said that, the tour still held lots of interesting and insightful moments for me, and was a fantastic intro for my plus one who was from out of town.
Our small group had an even mix of locals and visitors, with one couple coming out as a date night away from the kids. It was great meeting everyone over a cocktail at each venue we went to. Our tour took us past Melbourne’s first graveyard, we heard the true stories of executed prisoners (and saw where they may still be haunting us), and discovered the chilling tale of the man many believe was Jack The Ripper. It wasn’t all doom and gloom though, we really enjoyed the mix of humour amongst the grim stories and had plenty of laughs along the way. We were also very impressed with the range of bars we visited, all of which we would happily return to for another drink.
Drinking History Tour was a fun, unique and very social way to undercover the secrets behind this magnificent city. Or put simply; more fun than a history tour, classier than a bar crawl. If you want to have a chill down your spine, a drink in your hand and a smile on your face this is the tour for you.
– The Plus Ones