Selling a product is not enough. You have to create an experience. That’s the lesson learned by Louis Ialenti and Andrew Byrne after a decade of running The Cloakroom, the pair’s bespoke suiting service in Brisbane city.
It’s the reason why they are opening a bar later this month. “Everything we do here is [about] the experience, more than the product,” says Michael Pattison, who will manage The Cloakroom Bar. “Obviously the product is as high-quality as we can guarantee, but the experience is something we try to focus on.”
Finding The Cloakroom Bar will be an experience in itself. First, you’ll venture down a side alley next to The Cloakroom on Elizabeth Street, through a gate and up a fire escape. There, you’ll find a back office where a door will lead to the bar. Inside, the 34-seater will be candle-lit, closed off with curtains, and adorned with black-and-white photos.
Once seated, you’ll be served a palate cleanser before a bartender creates a bespoke cocktail based on a discussion of your own preferences.
“We do not carry any sort of cocktail menu,” Pattison says. “Everything is done by the conversation with the staff member. [We will] go back and create something and then come back to you and explain why we did this.”
The bespoke cocktail experience follows the addition of a barbershop at the Brisbane outlet, and the bar concept has already proven popular at the Maison Cloakroom – The Cloakroom’s Montreal sibling – which opened in 2014.
The Cloakroom’s next project? A Tokyo store, which is expected to open in the coming weeks.
The Cloakroom Bar will open at 1/215 Elizabeth Street later this month.