As the year draws to a close, we thought we’d take a look at some of the most exciting new venues of this year. Be sure to check out these über cool new kids on the block if you haven’t done so already.
Deathproof is much, much more than your run-of-the-mill Brissie bar. When a venue is co-owned by a street artist (Steen Jones) and an in uential personal trainer (Anthony Calligeros), you end up with a space that operates as a living art installation, killer bar and delicious health-conscious breakfast spot. From oor to ceiling all the way from the front door to the kitchen, storeroom and even the back alley, hand-worked, striking tattoo style artwork is splashed across every surface. Added to this is a scattered array of custom- made neon signage, casting coloured light throughout the space. The menus were even designed, printed and laser-engraved in-house by Steen’s creative initiative, Few and Far Collective. On the drinks side of things, they offer a range of beers and tasty tiki-inspired cocktails. Each month the venue also hosts a rotating activation with a different brand, mixing up their drinks menu and wall-art accordingly. Previous activations have been with 42BELOW Vodka, Sailor Jerry Rum, Fonzie Abbott and the launch of Ballast Point x Pirate Life Pale Ale. At night the menu is based on Hawaiian and American comfort eats but come 8am on weekends, you can grab yourself a frothy coffee and acai bowl. This is truly a venue with something for everyone.
697 Brunswick St, New Farm QLD 4005
Saturday – Sunday: 8am-Late
Melbourne’s rising star of the cocktail scene could not have a more apt name, with the venue focusing on serving up straightforward, aboveboard drinks. This philosophy is taken so seriously that owner Hayden Lambert has avoided the standard back bar all together. Instead, he selects the labels he feels are best suited to his ne-tuned menu of signatures and updated classics and decants them into 700ml crystal bottles before concealing them in large drawers behind the bar. The majority of the time you’re not sure what you’re drinking, but Lambert believes that’s the beauty of it as nothing detracts from the taste. He takes this one step further by using few garnishes. Keeping with the minimalist approach, the design is inspired by Japanese style, with the 12-seater wooden island bar and two coveted seats behind the bar set amongst soft nishings. This subtle charm is reinforced through its clandestine location, with the bar situated above BeerMash and accessible through an unmarked entry at the back of the venue.
1/306 Smith Street, Collingwood VIC 3066
Martin Lange’s latest venue adds a dash of dapper class to the Brisbane bar scene. Inspired by the London street of the same name, which is famous for its rows of suit tailors, Savile Row offers customised bar service with a touch of British style. The bar is home to nearly 900 bottles of spirits, 450 of which are whiskies. The drinks menu includes 20 bespoke cocktails on a nine-month rotation, changing as new and innovative creations are added. Swap the suit for your favourite tee and come on down on Friday and Saturday nights to let loose to some sweet tunes, spun by the four rotating DJs.
667 Ann St, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006
THE OLD MAN – HONG KONG
In July of this year, three of Hong Kong’s most in uential bartenders opened their rst bar. The joint venture of Agung Prabowo, James Tamang and Roman Ghale is inspired by the great American novelist Ernest Hemingway, with the name, drinks menu and overall concept of the bar a tribute to his Pulitzer Prize winning work, The Old Man and the
Sea. The décor is a fusion of Cuban and Asian style, giving the clandestine venue a chic but brooding, old-world feel. Indeed, guests could be forgiven for thinking they’re in the sitting room of an old Cuban house, rather than in central Hong Kong. Hemingway loved his booze, and as testament to that the team have created a cocktail list full of delightful experimental twists on classics, all with a slight Asian touch.
Lower G/F, 37 Aberdeen Street, SoHo, Central, Hong Kong
T: + 852 2703 1899
KU DE TA, PERTH
In one of the most anticipated openings this year, Bali favourite KU DE TA opened their rst international outpost on the stunning Swan River. Affectionately known as Bali on the Swan, the venue can hold 850 people and is spread across three spaces, The Deck, West and KU Dining. The main bar, The Deck, sits over the river and is afforded incredible views. The cocktail offering focuses on classics and is inspired by the food pairings, which are mainly share plates such as antipasti, pizza and housemade pasta. There is also a range of local craft beers and wines available.
306 Riverside Drive, East Perth WA 6004 T: (08) 6323 4155
Monday & Tuesday: 4pm-late
Saturday & Sunday: 8am-late
EMPLOYEES ONLY, HONG KONG
Following the success of the Singapore venue, Employees Only opened their fourth establishment in Hong Kong this year. Led by a dynamic team of Employees Only New York co-founder Igor Hadzismajlovic, his Singapore-based partners Joshua and Sarissa Rodriguez Schwartz, general manager Rachel Tow (previously of Employees Only Singapore, Employees Only New York, Wall ower, The Breslin, Sunset Beach) and beverage director Owen Gibler (formerly of Mother’s Ruin and Pouring Ribbons), the venue was awarded Best New Cocktail Bar at the 2017 Bar Awards Hong Kong. Venture through a mysterious fortuneteller’s lair and you’ll nd this beautiful 3,000 square feet, art deco inspired venue. The stylish old-world interiors include an elegant curving bar that leads to an enticing main dining room. There is also a private dining room and “Lover’s Corner” booth for those looking for somewhere a little more private. As rst and foremost a cocktail bar, the drinks adhere to Employees Only New York’s original tenet: “To offer awlessly executed cocktails and delicious elevated food, served in a beautiful space without any pretense.”
19 Lan Kwai Fong, Central, Hong Kong
T: 852 2468 2755
JACOBY’S TIKI BAR
This year Sydney got its rst true tiki bar. Jacoby’s, from the crew behind Earl’s Juke Joint, opened its doors on Enmore road and has been transporting patrons back to the glorious Golden Age of Tiki ever since. Hidden behind the old shop front of Anna Thai Takeaway you’ll nd this mysterious, tropical treasure. The bar is inspired by the genius of David Lynch (Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive etc.), with the intimate space dimly lit and crammed full with tiki artefacts and antiques. Take a seat at one of the small tables or on the plush lounges and take your pick of their fruity and delicious tiki cocktails. All the rum classics are on offer as well as a few innovative house twists, and most are served in authentic tiki mugs. If cocktails aren’t your thing, there’s Jamaican Red Stripe Lager on tap, along with cider and Hawaiian beers from Kona in the fridge. Soak up sweet tunes, from Link Wray to the Dead Kennedys, and relax in a touch of paradise right in the heart of Sydney’s inner west.
154 Enmore Road, Enmore NSW 2042
Friday & Saturday: 5pm-1am
Before the long winter months were upon us, the Speakeasy Group (Eau de Vie, Boilermaker House and The Roosevelt) gave Sydneysiders Mjølner, a Viking themed bar and restaurant serving hearty fare and top-notch drinks.
The décor is inspired by chic, contemporary Scandinavian design with Viking trimmings. Eat like one of the Viking Gods at the decadent Asgardian feasts of Valhalla and select from one of the four bird, sh, beast or vegetarian options on offer each evening. The choices are mainly whole animals cooked or carvings, but there is also a big focus on cured meats. Such cuts are kept in old tobacco kilns that have been converted into cured meat fridges, giving the charcuterie an incredible smoky taste. No Viking feast was complete without a drink in hand, and Mjølner delivers a strong cocktail, wine and whisky offering. At the time of the venue’s opening, there were 400 whiskies in- house and that number has since grown.
267 Cleveland St,Redfern NSW 2016 T: 0422 263 226
Tuesday – Thursday, Saturday: 5pm-12am