According to Alex Ross, part of the team behind new bar House of Correction, sometimes a building’s underbelly starts to show through the cracks during a renovation.
This became clear when The Next Week Group – the bar’s operators – began renovations on the site of 264 Swanston St – the Denyers Building (pictured) is the former home of Noodle Kingdom and the ongoing home of Goldilocks Rooftop Bar. And what was revealed was none other than the pornographic silhouettes left behind by former tenant, the infamously sinful Shaft Cinemas, barely hidden beneath peeling layers of paint.
“Digging deeper, the 1889 building revealed an even more mixed and dubious history,” says the team. “A medical supplier whose ‘supplies’ included human skeletons, adjacent to the local Chinese firecracker business. Seeped into the brickwork was a general vibe of the ‘just not quite right’.”
So rather than trying to clean up the building’s image, they set about amplifying it – naming the soon to open bar after an historical term for ‘an institution where vagrants and minor offenders were confined and set to work’.
As The Next Week Group says: “a place to drink for the not quite mad, not quite bad, but quite possibly a little dangerous to know”.
The bar itself is a sister venue to Goldilocks and is located on level four of the building, leaving Goldilocks to focus on being a rooftop bar.
The House of Correction space has been designed by ZWEI architects (the team responsible for Code Black) who has focused the design of the space on gently alluding to the darker side and mixed history of the venue, while studiously avoiding wandering into the realms of the ‘themed’ bar.
The bar team is headed up by David Smillie (ex-Eau De Vie, Sydney) and the four week rotating mixed drinks menu will be complemented by an extensive back bar, comprehensive bottled and tap beer selection, and a small but well-chosen wine offering.
The booze, the bar will have a curated selection of nibbles off the Mr Kwok menu.
House of Correction will throw open its doors in the first week of January 2017, and will be open 4pm-3am, seven days a week.