If you are a scientist looking for a place to get a drink in Melbourne, you could do worse than visit The Croft Institute. This is a seriously freaky establishment that you get to by going up an alley that runs off another alley.
These are very dodgy surroundings indeed, and you are surprised when you finally enter the bar itself and find it to be a nice-looking, although odd, place. It is odd because, as described on their website
The Croft Institute is hidden up a series of laneways, on a site that was previously vacant for over two decades. Set over three floors, The Croft Institute houses a laboratory on the ground floor, a hospital themed waiting area and bathrooms on the middle level and a 1930′s styled gymnasium on the top floor.
There also used to be a licensed vodka distillery on the first floor, but when I visited there the other night (I only looked at the first floor) the bar staff told me they didn’t make their own vodka any more. Nevertheless, they made me a reasonable martini and served it in a proper glass, not a beaker, as I had half expected.
There are a few nice long, low couches to sit on, but the rest of the seating is on lab stools, pulled up to lab benches. It distinctly reminded me of being in high school chemistry class, because all the equipment is getting on a bit.
It is definitely a quirky place, and it got me thinking a little about other bars that must exist around the world, dedicated to science, or at least with science as a theme. If you know of one, please let us in on it in the comments.