The last time I visited Der Raum (and also the first) was about 5 years ago for a friend’s 21st birthday. I’ve never been nor am now a big alcohol drinker so bars had never really been my kind of thing. I remember back then, Der Raum’s frontage was fully open and you could see into the bar from the street. Customers could enter freely and the bar was very busy.
Last Friday, I had a drink there with Winwin and to my surprise, Der Raum has become completely exclusive! Even with Googlemaps, I had to question whether I was at the right place as the exterior was completely dark and there were no signs to be found, not even its name! It turns out that Der Raum has introduced a membership policy where you can join the limited and exclusive members list in exchange for $250 a year and you get a keypass where you can swipe yourself in freely during all trading hours. It also comes with benefits such as priority bookings for large bookings, a birthday treat (a signature punch bowl worth about 15 full size cocktails), discounted drinks on Monday nights, discounted spirits and many more. Sounds like a good deal for Der Raum fans. However, non-members do not fear as they still accept bookings although that’s based on availability (obviously members come first).
Just remember to ring the intercom when you’re at the door and a friendly waiter will open the door for you. Apparently if you haven’t made a booking beforehand and you ring the doorbell, you will not be let in even if there is space.
It was nice to see that they still had all the hanging bottles at the bar counter which was a beautiful and fascinating sight to see. They do actually use these to make the drinks which shows that they have quite a comprehensive spirits list. My photo doesn’t do the counter justice since the bottles hang all around it. The menu changes by the season and this is the current one.
As soon as we ordered our drinks, the waitress came up and offered us a small complimentary drink. What a nice little surprise and look how beautiful it was! I’m terrible at remember names, especially alcohol ingredients but I did catch lavender and Bianco (vermouth) with what I assume was dry ice vapour inside. The dark lighting made the drink even more mysterious. It was good that this drink didn’t have too much alcohol in it since I can’t take alcohol at all and even finishing the one drink I ordered would have been difficult.
I took the top one without lighting assistance but I wasn’t sure how it would turn out so I got Winwin to turn on her iPhone 4G’s back light for me. Silly me forgot to adjust the white balance back and the photo turned very blue. So blue that I actually quite like it so here it is!
I ordered a Zombie which includes pineapple, citrus, apricot, caramelised passionfruit, spices and of course Bacardi rum for $25. I couldn’t really taste the individual fruits apart from the obvious passionfruit as there were many seeds and large pieces at the bottom of the drink. However, it was definitely fruity and has a non-overpowering but sweet flavour. The rum was at a bearable strength which I was glad about.
The drink was also topped with half a passionfruit shell which had caramelised sugar inside. The sugar can be added to the drink at the drinker’s discretion depending on how sweet they like it to be. I found it to be about right so didn’t need to add anymore sugar. Although I did add some in at the end just to test it out and see if it made any different. Maybe I was so drunk already but I couldn’t really tell.
Winwin ordered the Latin Threesome for $22 and includes smoked fruits, sugarcane, grape, citrus, Sagatiba Pura Cachaca (a Brazilian rum), Pisco Control (Chile) and Havana Club Anejo Reserva(Cuba). I’m not certain whether these are the exact alcohols used but as they weren’t listed anywhere, I took the liberty of searching it up online and came across afoodstory.com.au which I presume listed their old menu items. Latin Threesome is a classic and I believe stays on the menu while some others change with the season. It was quite a lot stronger in alcoholic taste compared to mine as the cup was smaller and the ice wasn’t all that melted. I think I preferred mine more just because it wasn’t as strong. Ok, alcohol experts, I admit I’m not good with drinking, but it’s in my Asian blood and runs in the family. I seriously die with only 1-2 drinks. Life isn’t fair!
Despite not being a big alcohol drinker, I still loved going to Der Raum. Of course, it’s not the cheapest place to have a drink but it’s well worth paying a bit extra for the great tasting drinks, fun atmosphere, exclusivity, fantastic service and comprehensive spirits list. Next time I will bring Yuye there again as he loves shaking up a nice drink at home and I’m sure he will appreciate the hard work put into each drink!
Phone: (03) 9428 0055
438 Church St, Richmond VIC 3121