January in Melbourne means summer, festivals and, of course, the tennis. From this year, you can add another essential: croquet. More specifically, the Royal Croquet Club, a festival giving us a brand new way to experience dining and drinking in the city.
For 17 days spanning the Australian Open and the Australia Day long weekend, the Royal Croquet Club will transform the banks of the Yarra below Fed Square with great food and drinks, a giant croquet lawn, music and entertainment in a surprising new space. There'll be a viewing area where guests can watch the tennis with a drink and dishes from some of Melbourne's favourite venues.
Having created an incredible interactive site in Adelaide during the Fringe Festival and Adelaide Cup, the Royal Croquet Club will turn Birrarung Marr into an outdoor dining and entertainment precinct with an atmosphere like nothing else in Melbourne.
Broadsheet will be curating the food and over coming weeks we’ll announce a line-up featuring some of the city's most-loved restaurants, cafes, food trucks and producers.
“The Adelaide Royal Croquet Club didn’t have a serious focus on food but with Melbourne being such a food town, we felt it was crucial to get this aspect right. With Broadsheet working with us to curate the precincts, food is as much of a focus as any other element – probably more so,” says Grant Smillie, the well-known entrepreneur and DJ who is bringing the concept to Melbourne with business partner Pete Sofo.
Talking with Smillie, his excitement is infectious as he describes bringing food, sport, bars, music and culture together in one well-designed summer home.
"There’s been a lot of consideration put into the aesthetics and design which will be super important to the experience," he says. "Everything has got to be considered across the board so we can meet Melbourne's lofty expectations and exceed them.”
"There are so many festivals now, you want a full experience. We feel this one will be pretty organic and special."
The Royal Croquet Club will open in mid January at Birrarung Marr. More details to follow.