Following a launch party at Le Bon Ton last night, we’re proud to officially announce that once again Schweppes has asked Broadsheet to host Bar Schweppes in The Birdcage for this year’s Spring Racing Carnival at Flemington.

After the success of last year we’ll be building on the very best of the city’s culture – bringing together Melbourne’s favourite bartenders, restaurants and food trends to create a high quality and authentic bar you’d find on a Melbourne street. This year though, we’re going Deep South.

"Again we're looking at what's happening around us,” says Broadsheet's publisher, Nick Shelton, “The Deep South food movement is huge now, and there are so many places doing it so well.”

In this spirit, Bluebonnet Barbecue will serve pulled-pork sliders and jalapeno-and-cheddar bratwursts, while New Orleans-style saloon Le Bon Ton and barbeque pros Meatmother will also be keeping you fed and satisfied.

“It’s not going to be boring finger food. It’s going to be fun, and just a bit messy,” Shelton says.

Le Bon Ton, Black Pearl and Seamstress will also be mixing Southern-inspired cocktails behind the bar using hand-cut ice and Schweppes mixers.

Designed in collaboration with local studios The Company You Keep and Therefore Studio, Bar Schweppes’ “Best of Melbourne” ethos is still front and centre. One substantial change though is the look of this year’s venue. In a weatherboard shell, guests will sit on bentwood chairs surrounded by assorted paraphernalia from Schweppes’ history.

“It’s going to feel like it’s been there for 50 years,” Shelton says.

A moss-and-willow covered balcony will offer a great spot to enjoy the weather, as well as a fantastic view of the Birdcage. Just quietly, we think this is the best piece of real estate in the Birdcage, thanks to its height and central location.

"The Spring Carnival is a pivotal time of year for Melbourne,” Shelton says. “It’s a great opportunity for us to work with one of our biggest partners and have a lot of fun, while highlighting the best this city has to offer.”