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Issue 54 - Australia's best kept secret? (Fidel's)

Whisky Magazine Issue 54
March 2006


This article is 12 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Australia's best kept secret? (Fidel's)

Fidel's in Melbourne is giving Australia's finest city a taste of true luxury – but don't tell anybody. Naren Young reports

The Macallan 1946 at $210 a pop. Mmm, nice. The Glenfarclas 40 year old at $352 a nip. Things are getting serious. The Glenfiddich 50 year for $495. Wow! The Glenffidich 1937 – yet to be priced, but while still waiting for further offers, is estimated at between $20,000 and $30,000AUD for the bottle.

Okay, now you have my attention. Welcome to Fidel's, the eponymous and widely lauded cigar lounge tucked away inside Melbourne's Crown casino complex.

The irony with Fidel's, however, lies in the fact that despite this range of super deluxe hooch, which you'd imagine would attract publicity and patrons alike, the place is still an inconspicuous destination for the bon vivant in a city renowned for its saturation of bars. And therein lies the intrinsic beauty and attraction of Fidel's – that it is still a hidden secret, even to the locals.

And I suspect this is exactly the way the staff like it and ensures that their loyal throng of regulars continue to come back to a place where they know they'll always be guaranteed a seat, a well made drink sipped from fine glassware, and the server will probably know their name.

Comfort here is paramount, with huge leather sofas and ottomans providing seating in the main room, complementing the private rooms down the back. But more than that later. Needless to say Fidel's is not the kind of place you'll ever see people queuing up outside or propping up the bar.

In fact there is no bar. Don't fret. There is a bar, but sadly it's hidden...

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