We’re at the business end of the Spring Racing Carnival in Melbourne, and there’s certainly an air of excitement around. We had the pleasure of being at Flemington Racecourse yesterday as the media gathered for the official unveiling of The Birdcage for the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival. Our own collaboration with Schweppes on Bar Schweppes was unveiled too, completed by dove greys, Broadsheet blacks, hanging light bulbs and handmade timber furniture from Arteveneta, all sitting beneath a show-stopping neon sign. It’s a balanced and considered interior designed by Melbourne company, Georgeous.
As we’ve come to expect, The Birdcage is awash with bold and glittering facades; interiors with whiskey fountains and can-can dancers, silver couches and gold table tops. It is, of course, a temporary world and most of the marquees are designed to grab as much attention as they can before they’re dismantled and taken away.
At Bar Schweppes, however, there’s a distinct focus on creating a bar and eatery that feels like it’s a permanent part of Melbourne. It’s a chance to bring together Melbourne’s best food and drink at one of Melbourne’s most celebrated events. “It’s about taking the best bits of Melbourne’s bars and restaurants, and bringing them together for just four days,” says Broadsheet Publisher, Nick Shelton.
In collaborating with the finest restaurants and bars from around the city, Bar Schweppes will have an ambassadorial feel, with menu items from iconic Melbourne restaurants Chin Chin, Saint Crispin, La Latteria, Saigon Sally and The Estelle. Behind the bar, led by The Beaufort’s Dave Kerr, the menu is comprised of an assortment of cocktails, with original recipes from The Beaufort, The Woods Bar, Black Pearl, Seamstress and Bar Ampere. “It’s such a fabulous city for drinks, and we’re just bringing that to a great Melbourne event,“ says Hanan Eissa from Schweppes.
And like the crowds, the action at Bar Schweppes will change daily, but mainstays on each of the four days will include Reuben sandwiches or a side of roasted Rooftop Honey strawberries for guests early in the day. Later on, Chin Chin head chef, Ben Cooper, will be around to serve a particularly subversive main course of green curry of chicken with salted duck eggs and Thai basil, paired with custom cocktails. A host of other chefs will bring their own spark to other dishes across Derby, Cup, Oaks and Stakes, with drinks mixed to accompany them all day.
Each of the cocktails is finished with a Schweppes mixer, from The Perfect G&T, with exact proportions of ice, Tanqueray gin and a perfect pour of Schweppes bubbling tonic water, to the Flemington Fling, the official cocktail of the Spring Racing Carnival, with fresh mint and lime, Ketel One Vodka and Blood Orange Agrum.
We’re extremely proud to be a part of Bar Schweppes, because it marks a first at The Birdcage - a destination built on Melbourne culture.