Since skateboarding’s earliest days, an empty swimming pool has pretty much been the holy grail.
Late last year, a few shots of a kidney-shaped indoor concrete pool began circulating on social media. For skaters, it looked like a dream, all smooth concrete and perfect curves.
When news leaked that the pool was housed inside a new Mexican restaurant with a bar looking down on it, Melbourne’s skateboarding community lost its collective mind.
“We knew that if we came to Melbourne we would need to do something crazy, and something that no one else is doing to make us stand out from the other Mexican restaurants,” says Craig Read, the operations manager of Fitzroy’s newest Mexican eatery, Beach Burrito Company.
Craig's brother, Blake Read, established Beach Burrito Company in Bondi in 2006. In the decade since, it's grown into a small empire with seven stores in Sydney as well as outlets in regional NSW, QLD, SA and ACT. The Fitzroy location is its 12th, and most ambitious, venture.
The novelty of the skate bowl aside, Beach Burrito will be serving the tacos, taquitos, nachos and quesadillas familiar to anyone who’s visited their interstate venues. Melbourne will get the first taste of the newest creation: the haloumi taco. Booze-wise, expect a generous selection of Mexican and local beers as well as frozen drinks and cocktail jugs.
Upstairs, a blue-and-pink neon sign illuminates the mezzanine-level bar with seating for up to 60 people overlooking the pool below. Downstairs, the bowl dominates a significant portion of the floor space but is surrounded by booth seating and another bar and kitchen at the rear of the venue.
The pool will be hedged by hurricane fencing to protect the people and the beers from flying skateboards, and will be available to skate by invitation only. According to Craig Read, this might be just as well. “This thing is really difficult to skate,” he says. “And it’s small (around 10 metres in length), which makes it twice as a hard.”