After lighting up the end of Melbourne’s Bligh Place since 2017, Souk has reopened its neon doors following a major revamp. The popular venue has consolidated the Middle-Eastern inspired restaurant to the upstairs and rear area of its existing location, making way for Handsome Bar, a completely plant-based experience.
Owner Ergun Elmas leads a creative team of hospitality rock stars, including General Manager Alla Payne (ex-Lucy Liu), 2IC Stevie Hatz (ex- ST ALi) and London-based designer and photographer Tré Koch. Collectively, the team bring years of collaboration and industry experience together for Souk’s rebranding and the genesis of Handsome Bar – a passion project pioneered by Payne and Hatz with creative input from Tré Koch on the design.
Handsome Bar can be entered through a separate door – a luxe drinking spot that showcases playful and nostalgic cocktails to be enjoyed and offers up local and French imported wines. Uniquely, the compact dining menu of eight dishes is exclusively plant-based, including such items as ‘bone marrow’ toast with parsley, truffled parfait with Pedro Jiminez jelly, as well as nostalgic inclusions like Jatz and French onion dip with harissa oil and homemade ‘sausage’ rolls with Port Melbourne’s own Rosella t-sauce – lending itself well to local clientele.
“Not only is the menu and cocktail list for Handsome completely plant-based, we’ve also worked to make sure it tastes good. The time of dining shouldn’t be dependent on the quality available late at night.” says Payne.
Handsome Bar injects a sense of understated luxury with its rich textures and metallic accents, yet the experience will be entirely approachable. Perfect for pre or post drinks, the late-night venue will be where everyone and everything is Handsome.
13 Bligh Pl, Melbourne VIC 3000
Tuesday-Saturday, 5PM til late