Anecdotal back-story (skip this if you hate my anecdotes)
One of my friends wanted to interview me for an assignment, but we live super far away from each other (Werribee and Thomastown if you’re super nosy). So we had to meet up in the city after work. We didn’t know where to go (needed to be able to sit down and also eat as it was dinner time) so I messaged a friend of mine who I consider the best food snob I know (he was a former Master Chef contestant, and though I don’t like reality TV, he obviously knows way more about food than me) and asked where is good to eat near Flinders Street Station. He suggested Abory Bar and Eatery and I had never heard of it before.
Where is Arbory Bar?
We looked up the address and it just said Flinders Walk. No number. This confused us a little bit as we had no exact spot on a map to look at to walk towards but we figured it out pretty quickly. It is directly behind Flinders Street station, by the Yarra river.
We accessed it from the St Kilda road side of the station, right before the bridge there are some stairs that take you to the waterfront next to the station. There is a path on your right that takes you to the entrance, you can see right into the station from here. You may accidentally go too far across the riverbank. That’s what we did!
On another trip I found there was another entrance right by the back end of Flinders Street Station (on the river side) this is probably the main entrance and is much easier to find.
What is Arbory Bar like?
Arbory Bar and Eatery is a very long and narrow place at the back of Platform 10 of Flinders Street station. It is an open air bar with an amazing view of Southbank. The bar / kitchen / toilets are in these big metal boxes that might be converted shipping containers or portable buildings. It has music playing on speakers which is at a reasonable volume. The fact that it is right next to the train station isn’t an issue at all. I actually loved that I could see when my train was coming from the screens at the station (my train is on platform 10 right next to the bar).
Here’s what it looks like from platform 10. It’s literally right behind that fence. We went on a quiet week night. The place is packed on a Friday night and probably Saturday too.
Food at Arbory Bar
We lined up at the bar to order food. They mainly had burgers, which I was very ok with. We lined up and waited behind this couple who were sampling wine so they could buy a bottle of it. They kind of took ages to decide and the bar guy completely ignored us til they had finished swishing wine around in their glasses. I can’t tell if this was good or bad service, because to the other people they were getting great service. I feel like this is the kind of thing other people would complain about on food review sites. But we weren’t in a huge rush and we are reasonable people.
I ordered the double cheeseburger, which had bacon on it and was in a really nice, sweet bun. I posted this photo on Facebook and got about 70 likes on it, which was far more than I expected for a photo of my dinner. Since most of my friends are from Werribee, they were all eager to hear what this place was like as we always see it from the platform but are never in a position to go there (as we are already in the station ready to go home). And it was a good burger. No complaints about it at all, would totally get it again. The crinkle cut chips were good for crinkle cut chips. They are not my favourite type of fries and remind me of cheap places when I was a kid. It seemed like a strange choice for a nice place like this to have.
My friend is a Coeliac, so can’t have gluten. We checked the menu before we went to make sure there was some gluten-free options (chips mostly) to make sure she could eat there. She asked the bartender if gluten-free burgers were possible and the guy seemed pretty offended at the idea (which I found funny). They didn’t. She got the Crinkle Cut Chips & Truffle Pecorino instead.
I tried one and they were pretty good. Excuse the blurry photo. The waiter who brought out the food was really good. He offered to bring out sauces, cutlery, serviettes etc, which was great and he was very understanding of my need to take photos of my food and a few selfies. He seemed to understand that every photo or selfie posted at your restaurant is free publicity for your restaurant on social media (provided the person actually checks in / tags the place / discusses it) and hey, my photo on Facebook for 70 likes from people who had been curious of the place and a few will probably go there now, plus I’m writing this review. I’ve since recommended this place to a few people since I went.
Here’s a selfie I took. Enjoy!
Drinks at Arbory Bar and Eatery.
They seemed to have a big variety of wine, but I don’t know much about wine so I just looked at what’s on tap. I tossed up between a glass of Golden Axe cider for about $9 or a glass of gin for $15. I was so excited to see gin on tap I went with that. I was a bit disappointed that it had to be served with ice but the bartender said it was pretty much straight gin with a bit of extra flavouring, I thought it was going to be a premix with soda, so this turned out pretty good. It was really nice too. I think it helped allow me to ramble off-topic things in my interview easier.
Would I come here again?
I would definitely come back to Arbory. I would happily eat that burger again, or possibly their Southern Fried Chicken burger (includes coleslaw, chipotle and crinkle cut chips) for $15. I would also come here for drinks with friends.