We admit we got carried away with a particularly boozy issue this summer. It was a natural gravitation, like pulling a cold beer from the fridge at the end of a really long day. We’re sure this year’s been big for you, and this is the time to cool your jets, look around and share a few rounds with friends.

There’s so much to look forward to this summer. Will and Mick Balleau (the burly blokes with gentle giant, Marlowe, on the cover) are opening their new venue – a New York-Jewish-deli-meets-rock-’n’-roll-bar called Five Points Deli and Longhorn Saloon. We were pretty much sold on the premise alone.

The Beaufort’s Dave Kerr interviews the elusive and enigmatic Matt Bax, the polarising man responsible for some of the world’s most highly conceptual bars, from the defunct Der Raum to the upcoming Bar Exuberante.

Cam O’Keefe talks us through champagne’s alter ego (the quiet kind that likes Saturday nights in), and we learn that a fat-washed cocktail is delicious and not nearly as gross as it sounds. We also line up your summer canned- beer options so you’re all set for your next camping trip. Pack them for your Melbourne- to-Sydney road trip, with all the best stops along the way mapped out by our Sydney editor Sophie McComas.

Photographer Kate Ballis and writer Miriam Kauppi take us on a nostalgic safari of Melbourne’s suburban swimming pools, Katya Wachtel goes one on one with the darkly hilarious comic artist David Shrigley ahead of his exhibition at the NGV this summer, while I learn about the psychology of soft serve with Tuck Shop Take Away (very serious stuff).

In short, think of this issue as us handing you a very cold drink and popping the cap for you.

School’s out kids. Have a great summer.

Tacey Rychter,