New cargo bar pops up in Melbourne CBD

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Melbourne’s newest bar is an indicator that the city’s thriving laneway culture can, in fact, be contained. An impressive new container bar called Whitehart sprouted up this month in a former parking lot at the end of Whitehart Lane.

The two-storey, open-air watering hole is the brainchild of husband-and-wife duo Stephen Johnson and Sabrina Santucci.

“We had been parking in the old car park located at the end of Whitehart Lane for several years and had often thought the car park was an awesome space that was under-utilised; an opportunity waiting to happen,” Stephen says.

So the pair got their hands on some recycled shipping containers and set about bringing their Whitehart dream to life.

The downstairs courtyard at Whitehart features two converted shipping containers along one side. One of the gutted containers houses the bar while the second container has been converted into a toilet block with four cubicles. The courtyard is sheltered by glass panelling, supported by a heavy-duty industrial steel framework.

On the upstairs roof deck, a third container has been transformed into a red serving station. An assortment of leafy plants and AstroTurf soften the hard-edged industrial aesthetic. Local artists Daisylegs have installed several multi-storey art works and wall projections to complete the venue’s urban vibe.

“The space is large yet intimate, industrial but green, outdoors yet undercover; you’re in the CBD yet hidden away, and the artwork is world class. It’s a totally unique experience,” says Stephen.

With a selection of popular craft beers on the menu, this already buzzing inner-city oasis is on track to win the hearts and minds of Melbourne hipsters
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